Florida Man Convicted of Murder 25 Years After Fatal Stabbing Linked to DNA from Beer Cans

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Image Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office

A Florida man, Kenneth Stough Jr., has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison 25 years after the fatal stabbing of Terrance Paquett. The Orange County prosecutor’s office announced the conviction on Friday. Paquett was stabbed 73 times while working alone at the Lil’ Champ mini-mart in Orlando in 1996. The case remained unsolved until 2021 when authorities arrested Stough after DNA from beer cans found outside his home in Eustis matched blood at the crime scene.

Following a five-day trial, Stough, now 56, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury. The State Attorney’s for the Ninth Judicial Circuit confirmed the verdict in a statement. The public defender’s office, representing Stough, has not yet provided a comment. Stough was sentenced to life in prison after the jury’s decision.

During the investigation, blood was discovered in the convenience store, including on the freezer door, lottery machine, and the door leading outside. At the time, authorities did not know who the blood belonged to. Stough lived across the street from the shop and had previously worked there, making him a suspect in 2021. Genetic genealogy testing was conducted on the blood found in the store, which was determined to be related to Stough’s parents, according to the state attorney’s office. The bag of empty beer cans left outside Stough’s home was then used to establish a link to the crime.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed that a data file was uploaded to public genealogy websites Family Tree and GEDmatch.com during the investigation. Genealogy websites have been instrumental in solving or generating leads in cold cases, such as the “Golden State Killer” serial killings in California. Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, was convicted in those cases in 2020.


Ryan Scott
Author: Ryan Scott

Just a guy

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