TBI: improved DNA testing helped solved cold case

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Improved DNA technology has helped police solve a 20-year-old West Tennessee murder case.

TBI special agent John Mehr says former South Carolina prison inmate Daniel McFarland pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder in the 1990 Christmas Eve killing of 74-year-old Bessie Shores in Haywood County. Shores was beaten to death.

The Jackson Sun quoted Mehr saying McFarland became a suspect after a match was made in 2008 using DNA capability that didn't exist two decades ago. At the time, McFarland was serving a prison sentence in Columbia, S.C., for a lewd act against a child.

Tennessee authorities went to South Carolina and got a new blood sample for confirmation.

Mehr says McFarland will be sentenced later and will serve prison time.

Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com

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