A Houston man, who was scheduled to be released from prison in October after serving jail time for theft, is now facing capital murder charges in the 2004 killing of a Houston woman.
Troy McWhorter was sent to prison for stealing truck equipment. Texas prison officials took a routine DNA sample from him earlier this year after he violated probation. A DNA database matched his DNA to the DNA found on the abandoned body of Shonda Alexander.
Alexander, 36, was killed July 21, 2004, in northwest Harris County. McWhorter had not been among the original suspects in the initial investigation. However, after the DNA match investigators found that McWhorter had lived in the neighborhood where Alexander was frequently seen.
Alexander had served in the U.S. Army and helped raise six children. Investigators recently called her family in Oklahoma and told them the cold case had been solved.
"There's no better feeling in law enforcement that I think of," said investigator sergeant Bobby Minchew. "Maybe they can sleep better at night."
Since 2009, the Harris County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit has brought charges against 13 killers who took the lives of a total of 15 people.