More than 16 years after an aerospace engineer was found stabbed to death in his Oklahoma City home, police have identified a suspect in the case, court papers show.
Dwayne Edmondson, a 49-year-old parolee living in Chicago, is wanted in the 1996 killing of Scott Douglas Penny, 36, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed this week in Oklahoma County District Court.
DNA from a cigarette butt found in Penny's garage, along with a photo of a well-developed black man with a unique tattoo on his bicep led Oklahoma City police detectives to Edmondson, who lived in Oklahoma City when Penny was killed.
Edmondson is in custody in Illinois, but he has yet to be arrested in the homicide, a police spokesman said Friday.
Co-workers found Penny on Jan. 30, 1996, when they went to his home after he failed to show up for work. Penny worked at Tinker Air Force Base and lived alone.
His house had been ransacked and several items stolen, including his television, stereo equipment, pager and camera. Penny's red 1990 Chevrolet pickup also was missing, police reported.
Victim had ‘fetish'
According to the affidavit, Penny, who was gay, was known to pick up strangers and had a “fetish” for arm muscle development. Investigators recovered more than 100 Polaroid photographs of nude and seminude males flexing their biceps.
Investigators determined two pictures lying next to a Polaroid camera were the last two pictures taken with the camera. Both photos depicted a black man posing and flexing his bicep muscles, police said.
One of the photos gave a partial view of the man's face; the other showed the same man posing from behind. In the second photo, a tattoo of a unique star is visible on the upper right arm, according to the affidavit.
All of the photos appear to have been taken from inside Penny's residence in the 2600 block of NW 121, police said.
Two days before Penny's body was discovered, a black man driving a red pickup believed to be Penny's sold the victim's camera and pager at a drug house in Oklahoma City. The people who bought the stolen items claimed they didn't know the man by name.
Penny's pickup was found three days after the killing across from the Jesus House homeless shelter in the 1200 block of Sheridan Avenue.
Case grows cold
The case, though, grew cold when “no viable suspect information was identified,” according to the affidavit.
Police got a break in 2004, when a cigarette butt recovered from Penny's garage was tested for DNA and matched Edmondson, police reported.
Investigators learned Edmondson lived in Oklahoma City at the time of the slaying and was a transient who listed his address at the Jesus House and The Salvation Army homeless shelters in downtown Oklahoma City, according to the affidavit.
Edmondson had a lengthy criminal record, which included numerous drug, robbery and theft arrests. A booking photo of Edmondson from a 1995 arrest in Oklahoma City “strongly resembled the black male who was posing his biceps in the last two photographs taken from Penny's Polaroid camera,” investigators reported.
Police said composite drawings made with the help of witnesses at the drug house where Penny's belongings were sold also resembled Edmondson.
According to the affidavit, investigators tried to locate Edmondson, who was living in Chicago in 2004, but were unsuccessful.
In May, investigators reviewed the case and learned Edmondson recently had been released from prison in the Chicago area and was on parole.
Tank top helpful
Last month, detectives met with Edmondson at his parole office in Chicago. He showed up wearing a tank top, which would prove helpful to the investigation.
“As he entered the room, I immediately observed a star tattoo on Edmondson's right arm,” Detective Bill Lord wrote in the affidavit. “It is the same unique tattoo that appears on the upper right arm of a black man seen posing on a Polaroid photo recovered inside the Penny residence.”
Edmondson, the detective wrote, admitted to living in Oklahoma City at the time of the homicide and said he was addicted to cocaine and living at the Jesus House homeless shelter.
When Edmondson was told his DNA was found at the scene of the killing, he denied being involved in a killing and refused to talk further about the case, the detective reported.
Edmondson refused to look at photos of Penny to see if he knew him, declined to give a DNA sample, and would not let investigators photograph his tattoos, the affidavit shows.