NEWS RELEASE 20-033 - FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Luke Fleming, the man charged in connection with the 1999 homicide of Deborah Dalzell, was today convicted of Murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Detectives arrested Fleming in September 2018 after DNA left behind at the nearly 20-year-old crime scene was utilized to create a suspect profile predicting the suspect’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, and more. By combining attributes of appearance, a composite was produced depicting what the suspect may have looked like at 25 years old. Detectives used this information to identify people who may have information helpful to the investigation, ultimately identifying the suspect as Fleming, who was 20 years old at the time and lived within walking distance of Deborah’s home. Detectives obtained a DNA sample which was analyzed and compared against the suspect’s DNA profile. The comparison provide a match to Luke Fleming.
A trial began Monday and came to an end Thursday after a short deliberation by the jury who found Fleming guilty of first degree Murder and Sexual Assault with a Weapon. Fleming received two life sentences in prison.
“What is most meaningful about today’s outcome is the justice it brings to Deborah’s family,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “After two decades of searching for answers, I hope this verdict brings them the peace and resolution they deserve. As for the DNA evidence used in this investigation, it speaks volumes about law enforcement capabilities in the modern world. Those criminals who have escaped the system might want to start looking over their shoulders. This technology will only grow in its efficiency and usefulness in solving crimes. Great work by all involved.”
The sheriff’s office extends its gratitude to the State Attorney’s Office, Parabon NanoLabs, DNA Labs International, Genetic Genealogy Consultants and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this investigation and subsequent conviction.