DNA hit leads to rape and murder trial

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man is on trial Thursday night for a rape and murder two decades old. 52- year-old Don Farmer was linked to the case by a DNA cold hit.

Prosecutors have called this a person's worst nightmare. A 73-year-old woman is beaten to death. An 18-year-old in the apartment is raped and sodomized.

Don Farmer says he didn't do it, but the state says a DNA match, made 23 years after the crime, puts him at the scene, committing the rape.

It happened 24 years ago this week in an apartment on the 1100 block of Hull Street. 73-year-old Eathel Frenzel is beaten to death with a vase. An 18-year-old raped.

Two men had forced their way in, but police caught only one man running out. Lorenzo Williams is serving  a life sentence, but police were never able to identify his accomplice.

Fast forward to 2010. The state forensic lab was testing DNA from cold cases when technicians got a match. They linked 52-year-old Don Farmer's DNA with a sample from the rape. Prosecutors say Farmer confessed. The defense says it was forced by police.

The trial will continue Friday morning.

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