Officials say James Burress, 63, was charged on Thursday in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Lorraine Snell, who was found murdered on Sept. 26, 1980.
Burress, the bishop of By Divine Purpose Christian Center, was married to Snell's cousin at the time of the murder.
Officials say the indictment was the result of a thorough investigation of the case and the evidence, which included DNA technology.
NEW: Following a lengthy and thorough reinvestigation of the 1980 strangulation death of 19-year-old Lorraine Snell, a 63-year-old Staten Island man who was married to her cousin at the time of the crime has been indicted for the murder. https://t.co/QG0jAPVZf0 pic.twitter.com/7GZlR0ehQb— Eric Gonzalez (@BrooklynDA) March 12, 2020
"My thoughts today are with Lorraine Snell's mother, Pearl, who has waited decades to see her daughter's killer brought to justice," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.
Snell's body was discovered in a parked station wagon behind a C-Town supermarket on Nostrand Avenue in East Flatbush.
According to the investigation, Snell went to the Midwood Terrace catering hall located on Flatbush Avenue to reserve the space for a party for her boyfriend.
Officials say Burress allegedly admitted to police that he was with Snell at the Midwood Terrace and that he walked her part of the way home.
The investigation revealed Burress' DNA to be a positive match with DNA found under Snell's fingernail.
Burress is charged with one count of second-degree murder.
He was not granted bail and is expected back in court in late March.
Burress faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
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