Font size: +

St. Paul police find first DNA match solving a cold case

St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)
BYLINE: Maricella Miranda

St. Paul, MN

Dale Heinhold picked up a homeless man 20 years ago, took him to his St. Paul house, bought him pizza and beer, and offered him help. That night, the homeless man stabbed him to death. "He was the best person that I ever met. He treated me like he knew me all my life. Then I go and do all that," Larry Wayne Brigman said Thursday before he was sentenced to 27 years and one month in prison for second-degree murder in the May 1989 slaying.

Ramsey County District Judge William Leary ordered Brigman, 59, to serve a longer sentence than called for in the guidelines at the request of the prosecutor and the victim's family. Brigman has credit for 162 days served.  "It certainly is a tragedy on all sides," Leary said.

DNA evidence linked Brigman to Heinhold's killing. It was the first DNA match in a cold case for St. Paul police.

Brigman pleaded guilty in April, after acknowledging the prosecution likely had enough evidence to convict him. In the plea agreement, he faced up to 18 years in prison under 1988 sentencing guidelines.

He would have served the sentence consecutively after serving time for a conviction in an earlier 1989 fatal stabbing in Ohio. But that sentence was set to expire in 2014 -- not 2020 as previously thought by the prosecution.

Prosecutor David Hunt asked the judge for a concurrent sentence instead that gives Brigman double-credit for time served in the Ohio and Minnesota stabbings until 2014 but a longer time overall in prison.

Brigman will begin serving his sentence in Minnesota.

"I think he just wanted to be incarcerated for as long as possible," Hunt said. "I think he's afraid of getting out."

Brigman, who at first said he didn't recall the attack, recanted that claim in court on Thursday:

According to his account:
Heinhold, 54, picked up Brigman and took him home. The two ate pizza while Brigman drank beer. They made their sleeping arrangements, and Heinhold went to sleep. Brigman stayed up to watch TV.

Sometime later, a man came into Heinhold's apartment with a knife, angry that Brigman was in the apartment. The man stabbed Brigman and left. Brigman then entered Heinhold's room looking for the man. "I just started stabbing Dale. I was wrong," Brigman said.

Brigman would turn into a maniac and black out when he drank alcohol, he said previously in court. Heinhold's sister Elaine Invie found her brother dead May 20, 1989, in his St. Paul apartment. "I can still see Dale on that bed, as if it just happened, even though it was 20 years ago," Invie, of Prior Lake, said in court.

St. Paul police took another look at the case in 2006, after receiving a call from Invie. She said she was motivated by the television programs "CSI" on CBS and AE's true-crime drama "Cold Case Files."

Investigators searched the property room and found a blood sample from the case that didn't match the victim's. Scientists ran the DNA through the national forensic database and matched it to Brigman.

The Minnesota murder was similar to the Ohio fatal stabbing Brigman was serving time for. In both cases, vehicles and other items were stolen. Heinhold's car was found in Ohio shortly after his death.

Heinhold was a salesman, cared for his elderly mother and was well-liked by his neighbors, Hunt said. Before his death, Heinhold was happy and planned to open a new business.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"
Mold-covered kit found in Ford Heights evidence ro...

Search IAPE

Blotter - Latest News

This login form is for IAPE Staff ONLY!