Kilgore police revisit murder cold case - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Kilgore police revisit murder cold case


Hope is restored in a 22-year-old East Texas murder cold case, as DNA could be the missing piece to help police solve the murder and attempted robbery of a store clerk.

It happened in February of 1990 at a store in the 3,300 block of Highway 31 south in Kilgore. Twenty-two-years ago, someone walked into the Rose package liquor store in Kilgore, and gunned down 52-year-old clerk Joy Burns.

Jim Brinkley knew and worked with Burns.

"She was a nice lady she would give you the shirt off her back. She said she'd been robbed before and wasn't going to be robbed again," Brinkley says.

The suspect entered the Rose that day, pretending to buy beer.

"When Joy rang the beer up he started around the corner to rob her, she reached and grabbed for her gun they fought over it and the gun went off," Brinkley says.

"Investigators did have some witnesses who indicated they did see a black male leaving the scene," says Kilgore Police Investigator, Trae Portwood.

What happened next is still a mystery. The suspect left through the front door and was never seen again. Witnesses only got a long distance look at him. What puzzles police to this very day, is that he got away with nothing, no money no merchandise, he even left the gun he had shot Burns with.

"They never identified who that person was, no identification the case has been cold for some time now," Portwood says.

Brinkley says he wants DNA evidence tested.

"Miss Burns was a case we were starting to look at when we were contacted by the owner of the store. The hope is that we can recover DNA from some of the evidence that came from the scene, and we do have some items that came from the scene. Our hope is to match it to someone in the data base," Portwood added.

Brinkley wonders if the suspect is still in East Texas.

"He could still be coming into my store and us not knowing who he is, and I want him caught," Brinkley says.

And for law enforcement, a chance to say what family members have waited so long to hear.

"That you've finally found the people responsible for taking their loved one," says Portwood.

Kilgore police say they are going to look at evidence collected at the original crime scene to gather possible DNA for suspect identification.

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