Police arrested a suspect after DNA connected him to a nearly 40-year-old cold case murder, and now he's spending decades behind bars, Maryland authorities announced.
Howard Jackson Bradberry, Jr., now 65, was taken into custody on May 25, 2021, and charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, and kidnapping, according to Howard County police.
On March 29, 1982, Laney Lee McGadney, a mother of four, left her Columbia apartment and was walking to the grocery store. Witnesses saw McGadney abducted along a road. The 28-year-old victim’s body was found in a vacant lot that same day and investigators determined she had been stabbed to death.
Despite eyewitness testimony and a lengthy investigation, police were never able to identify a perpetrator and the case went unsolved.
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In early 2021, cold case investigators who tested evidence from the case received DNA results that linked Bradberry to the scene. He was recently sentenced to decades behind bars.
“We hope that after nearly 40 years, Laney McGadney’s family can have some kind of peace with this arrest,” Police Chief Lisa Myers said after the murder suspect’s arrest. “Nothing will ever erase the pain of losing a loved one in such a violent and tragic way. Our cold case investigators are committed to bringing justice for victims and families, no matter how much time has passed.”
In July 2022, Bernhardt entered an Alford plea to a charge of second-degree murder.
A judge recently sentenced him to 25 years in prison for the crime.
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