COLD CASE: Double-murder from 1998 solved - KMSP-TV

COLD CASE: Double-murder from 1998 solved

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

On Christmas Eve in 1998, police tape surrounded what is now a tidy four-plex in northeast Minneapolis after a young couple was murdered there. Now, prosecutors say DNA has led them to the killer.

After 15 years, investigators say they know who strangled both 20-year-old Dustin Baity and 18-year-old Carrie Richter. Richter was also stabbed, but a single drop of blood found at the crime scene didn't belong to her.

On Wednesday, Baity's sister joined prosecutors and police in announcing that first-degree murder charges against 35-year-old Jason Richard Preston, who is currently serving time in a California prison for a home invasion. Preston was linked to the killings because Homicide Detective Chris Karakostas never forgot, prosecutors said. He was diligent in retesting the DNA evidence collected at the crime scene, and Preston -- who used to live in Minnesota and knew the couple -- was the match, according to the charges.

A search warrant that was executed after the crime talked of drugs and cash that were kept in the home, but prosecutors have yet to reveal what motive Preston may have had for killing Baity and Richter. Even for family members of the victims, the motive remains a mystery, but they do hope that another Christmas Eve will at least bring a trial and some answers.

Police would like to speak with anyone who can provide details on where Preston was on Dec. 24, 1998, or how he may have met the couple. Those with tips are urged to contact Karakostas at 612-490-2991.

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