DNA Match Leads to Arrest For ’02 Murder

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Long Beach Crime

After more than a decade, a Central California man will face a murder charge after he was connected to the 2002 crime through DNA.

On June 24, 2002, at 3:24 p.m., Long Beach Police responded to 1200 Pier E in the Port of Long Beach regarding reports of a person who had been stabbed.

When officers arrived, they discovered 33-year-old Maurice Howard of San Gabriel, inside his vehicle in a parking lot at the location. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene.

Victim Howard had sustained multiple stab wounds to his head, upper body and torso area. Detectives processing the scene collected a substantial amount of physical evidence the night of the murder. However, they were unable to identify a suspect and the case went cold. Several years later, cold case investigators submitted evidence collected from the scene to the Los Angeles County Crime Lab for DNA testing, hoping that advances in medical science would lead them to a suspect. In May of 2014, detectives received information that a DNA profile from an evidence sample submitted resulted in a match to 39-year-old Stewart Teofilo of Patterson, California. Detectives determined that although Teofilo was currently living in Patterson, he had connections to Long Beach.

On April 21, 2015, detectives arrested Stewart Teofilo in Modesto, California, as he appeared in court on unrelated charges and transported him back to Long Beach. On April 23, 2015, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder on Stewart Teofilo. He was arraigned on April 24, 2015, and is being held at the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail on $1,000,000 bail. He is expected to appear in court on May 1, 2015. A motive for the murder is still under investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Shea Robertson and Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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