SI 'bishop' arrested for 1980 cold-case murder of Brooklyn teen Lorraine Snell

Chief of the District Attorney's Forensic Science and Cold Case unit, worked closely with the NYPD to utilize enhanced DNA technology.

March 12, 2020

STATEN ISLAND — The mother of a Flatbush murder victim who was just 19 when she was strangled in 1980 sobbed tears of relief Thursday when PIX11 showed her photographic evidence that the long-time person of interest was finally arrested.

A 64-year old storefront bishop was arrested Thursday in Staten Island in the murder of legal secretary Lorraine Snell. Bishop James Burrus was taken in cuffs Thursday morning from the Staten Island garage where he lives and holds church services, behind a laundry on Delafield Avenue.

"Oh my God! Thank you, Jesus," Pearl Snell-Holder cried on the stoop of her home. "It's been 39 and a half years; Lorraine got her justice."

Snell was just 19 when she was found strangled on Sept. 25, 1980 in the back seat of a station wagon, behind a supermarket on Newkirk Avenue in Brooklyn.

The mother also thanked PIX11 for sticking with the cold case for the last six years.

"You listened to everything I had to tell you and you stuck with me until today," Snell-Holder told PIX11's Mary Murphy.

Burrus had previously been a prime suspect, but always denied involvement.

"Those cops checked me from head to toe," Burrus told PIX11 in 2014. "They had a guy come in to pick under my nails."

The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez initiated a lengthy re-investigation of the case about five years ago.

Rachel Singer, chief of the District Attorney's Forensic Science and Cold Case unit, worked closely with the NYPD to utilize enhanced DNA technology.

The DA's office noted that because of the re-investigation, "the defendant's DNA was allegedly positively associated to foreign DNA found under the victim's fingernail."

Detective William Simon of the NYPD Cold Case Squad and Detective Michael Gaynor of Brooklyn South Homicide delivered a handcuffed Burrus to the Brooklyn courthouse, where he was arraigned before a judge.

A 64-year old storefront bishop was arrested Thursday in Staten Island in the nearly 40-year-old murder of legal secretary Lorraine Snell. Snell was just 19 when she was found strangled on Sept. 25, 1980 in the back seat of a station wagon, behind a supermarket on Newkirk Avenue in Brooklyn. By: Mary Murphy Posted at 12:14 PM, Mar 12, 2020 and last updated 5:01 PM, Mar 12, 2020

STATEN ISLAND — The mother of a Flatbush murder victim who was just 19 when she was strangled in 1980 sobbed tears of relief Thursday when PIX11 showed her photographic evidence that the long-time person of interest was finally arrested.

A 64-year old storefront bishop was arrested Thursday in Staten Island in the murder of legal secretary Lorraine Snell. Bishop James Burrus was taken in cuffs Thursday morning from the Staten Island garage where he lives and holds church services, behind a laundry on Delafield Avenue.

"Oh my God! Thank you, Jesus," Pearl Snell-Holder cried on the stoop of her home. "It's been 39 and a half years; Lorraine got her justice."

Snell was just 19 when she was found strangled on Sept. 25, 1980 in the back seat of a station wagon, behind a supermarket on Newkirk Avenue in Brooklyn.

The mother also thanked PIX11 for sticking with the cold case for the last six years.

"You listened to everything I had to tell you and you stuck with me until today," Snell-Holder told PIX11's Mary Murphy.

Burrus had previously been a prime suspect, but always denied involvement.

"Those cops checked me from head to toe," Burrus told PIX11 in 2014. "They had a guy come in to pick under my nails."

The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez initiated a lengthy re-investigation of the case about five years ago.

Rachel Singer, chief of the District Attorney's Forensic Science and Cold Case unit, worked closely with the NYPD to utilize enhanced DNA technology.

The DA's office noted that because of the re-investigation, "the defendant's DNA was allegedly positively associated to foreign DNA found under the victim's fingernail."

Detective William Simon of the NYPD Cold Case Squad and Detective Michael Gaynor of Brooklyn South Homicide delivered a handcuffed Burrus to the Brooklyn courthouse, where he was arraigned before a judge.

Snell's mother, sister, and two brothers arrived at court with the victim's nieces and nephews.

Burrus didn't look at the family.

"He kept his eyes straight ahead," Pearl Snell-Holder said. "His head straight."

Burrus was held without bail and remanded to jail.

"My thoughts today are with Lorraine Snell's mother, Pearl, who has waited for decades to see her daughter's killer brought to justice," the District Attorney said in a statement.

Pearl told PIX11 last fall that she was 42 years old when her daughter died. She is turning 82 years old this September.

Snell-Holder said she wasn't going anywhere until her daughter received justice.

"I was waiting like it would never come," the mother said Thursday, nearly 40 years later.

...

SI 'bishop' arrested for 1980 cold-case murder of Brooklyn teen Lorraine Snell

Staten Island storefront bishop James Burrus has been arrested for the 1980 cold-case murder of Brooklyn teen Lorraine Snell, PIX11 Mary Murphy reports.
UPDATED Police: Normal cop faces 4 felony charges ...
Arizona Man Originally Suspected in 1978 Cold Case...

Related Posts

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://home.iape.org/

Blotter - Latest News

News By Region

News by Date

Search IAPE

This login form is for IAPE Staff ONLY!