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Family, Friends Claim DNA Backlog Leaves Unanswered Questions In Wilson Man's Murder

Posted December 30, 2003

— The friends and family of a murdered Wilson antiques dealer said the State Bureau of Investigation is not doing enough to bring them justice.

It has been more than three years since 79-year-old Jim Jefferson was found strangled in his Pitt County home. He was a well known antiques expert who worked out of his shop in Wilson.

"Jim's death was absolutely devastating to all of us because he was in the prime of his health," said Dr. James Gutai, Jefferson's friend.

"The whole community felt a very large loss through his death," said Eric Jefferson Pierce, Jefferson's nephew.

Jefferson's murder is still not solved and the investigation seems to be at a standstill.

"There is a killer here in eastern North Carolina who strangled a defenseless 79-year-old man in his home. That person is still out there," he said.

Investigators believe the key to solving Jefferson's murder may be in evidence they have already collected and sent to the SBI lab for testing. They said the problem is getting those results. The Pitt County Sheriff's Office sent the evidence at least a year and a half ago. Investigators said it is stuck in the SBI's backlog of DNA requests.

Jefferson's family and friends are furious. They want the attorney general's office to find a better system.

"It isn't that it's a cold case," Gutai said. "That is what is so incredibly frustrating."

"We hope that things will progress and that we can find closure to it," Pierce said.

Jim Jefferson's friends and family spent Tuesday afternoon meeting with their local state representative. They want to persuade the state to change the way it handles DNA testing to produce quicker results.


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