Mountain View police announced Tuesday that they have closed a 1990 murder case after DNA evidence linked a now-dead Sunnyvale man to a homicide in a Mountain View parking lot.
Milpitas resident Darryl O'Donnell, 27, was found lying on the ground with a stab wound on the 400 block of Moffett Boulevard on Oct. 20, 1990, shortly before 2 a.m. He was taken to a hospital where he later died of his injuries, police said in a statement.
Officers could not link a suspect to the killing at the time, with witnesses stating that "several men" had gotten into a fight in the parking lot and fled the area by car and on foot. The man suspected of stabbing O'Donnell was described as a white man in his mid-20s with brown eyes and brown hair.
But DNA evidence, specifically a possible blood sample of the suspect, had been collected at the scene. In the latest attempt to close the case, police Sgt. Dan Fisher sent the evidence to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Crime Laboratory in September last year and came back with a match. The evidence suggests that John Snowgrass, a Sunnyvale resident who had died in 2006, was the man suspected of killing O'Donnell.
The district attorney's office, working with the Mountain View Police Department, concluded on Jan. 27 that Snowgrass was the suspect in the case based on the "totality" of the evidence, police said.
"My family, friends and I have lived the past 30 years not knowing who killed him," said Lisa O'Donnell, Darryl's sister, in a statement. "I feel justice may have been served knowing his killer died in 2006. We don't have to endure the pain and agony of my brother's death going through a trial."
Police Chief Chris Hsiung hailed the discovery as a sign that officers are committed to their pursuit of justice, despite the length of the investigation and the long-awaited resolution.
"This case is a true testament to the perseverance and dedication of the men and women who serve this community," Hsiung said. "We never forget about our unsolved homicide cases"