Florida Man Arrested After DNA Links Him To 25-Year-Old Cold Case Murder At Motel, Police Say

cold case suspect
Source: Baker County Sheriff’s Office; UNSPLASH

Jun. 2 2022, Published 1:01 p.m. ET

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Police in Florida have taken into custody a suspect in connection to a 25-year-old cold case murder of a man at a motel, authorities announced.

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On May 31, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Baker County Sheriff’s Office arrested Alan Lefferts, 71, in Jacksonville, where he was living, and charged him with first-degree murder.

Lefferts is accused of killing James Branner following a fight in a room at the Prince Murat Motel in Tallahassee on July 2, 1996, the Tallahassee Police Department said.

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Detectives reopened the cold case in 2020 and worked with Parabon NanoLabs to develop a new DNA profile from the original crime scene evidence. They then used genetic genealogy to identify Lefferts last year as the main suspect in the case after what the Tallahassee Police Department said was a “thorough investigation.”

Authorities have not released a motive for the alleged killing.

“Solving a case that occurred nearly 26 years ago speaks volumes to the dedication and great collaborative effort between our state and local law enforcement partners,” Deputy Chief Jason Laursen said of Leffert’s arrest. “Our detectives and forensic specialists work tirelessly every day to seek justice for victims and ensure those responsible for crimes are held accountable. We’re hopeful this arrest will bring some level of closure to the victim’s surviving loved ones.”


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