Cup, cigarette butt connect Jersey City man to 2012 Berks County homicide

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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READING, Pennsylvania -- Police in Pennsylvania say they've cracked a 12-year-old cold case by using DNA from a piece of styrofoam cup and a cigarette butt.

It was back on March 24, 2012, when someone shot and killed Julio Torres as he was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the West Reading Diner.

Surveillance video from that day showed the suspect holding a styrofoam cup.

Investigators recovered a bitten-off piece of the cup and ran the DNA without success.

Last year, the cold case team ran that suspect's picture through facial recognition software and found that it was Vallis Slaughter, of Jersey City.

Police recovered a cigarette butt he had discarded outside his mother's home and matched it to the DNA found on that styrofoam cup.

Slaughter is currently being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey as he awaits extradition to Berks County.

He is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault and other related crimes.