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Man charged in two decade-old homicides

An SBI analysis of evidence from 1997 and 1998 slayings turned up a DNA link to Lontren Walker, police said.

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Lontren Walker, charged in two Raleigh homicides
RALEIGH, N.C. — Police on Monday charged a Raleigh man in two slayings that occurred more than 10 years ago.

Lontren Lawrence Walker, 34, was charged with two counts of murder in the 1997 death of Patricia Ann Harris and the 1998 death of Cleaster Prim. Both victims had been strangled, police said.

Harris, 26, was found dead behind a building at 1000 E. Martin St. on Oct. 17, 1997, police said. Prim, 40, was found inside an apartment at 804-A E. Lenoir St. on June 28, 1998, police said.

In 2007, members of the Raleigh Police Department’s Major Crimes Task Force resubmitted evidence in the slayings to the State Bureau of Investigation so the items could be analyzed using the most up-to-date technology. Through its analysis, the SBI lab developed a DNA link to Walker, police said.

Walker had been serving a sentence on unrelated charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a habitual felon, and police said he was released Monday from Johnston Correctional Institution. He was immediately taken into custody and transferred to the Wake County Jail.

Nineteen Raleigh homicides remain unsolved, police said. The oldest is the murder of Beth Ellen Vinson, who was killed in August 1994.

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