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DNA evidence leads to arrest in 20-year-old Redding homicide

The Sacramento Bee, sacbee.com
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Redding, CA

A man sought in connection with a 20-year-old homicide in Redding was booked into Shasta County Jail today, a year after DNA evidence linked him to the case.

Brian Eric Norton is being held on a no-bail warrant accusing him of murder in the death of Despina Magioudis, according to a Redding Police Department news release.

Magioudis, 53, was found in a field on the north side of East Cypress on Aug. 10, 1991. The police investigation revealed that she had been sexually assaulted and died as a result of strangulation and bludgeoning. Redding police and the California Department of Justice Crime laboratory pursued the case for years, but it finally went cold, officials said.

On Dec. 19, 2001, swabs collected from the victim were tested by the California Department of Justice laboratory. During the testing, DNA was located and uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System for routine searches against profiles from both offenders and other case evidence.

On March 22, 2010, a DNA match was identified between evidence from the victim and a suspect identified as Norton, according to the news release. Norton was serving a prison sentence in Iowa associated with a sexual assault and he provided a DNA sample after his conviction. In June 2010, a team of Redding police investigators and a representative of the Shasta County District Attorney's Office flew to Iowa to investigate Norton as the homicide suspect.

A warrant was issued Aug. 10, 2010, charging North with the murder of Magioudis. Police said Norton fought extradition from Iowa, but was finally transported to Sacramento by the U.S. Marshall's Office. Redding police investigators today transported him to Redding.

During interviews with investigators, Norton confessed to the 1991 homicide, according to the news release.

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