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More evidence sought against Utah cold-case murder suspect

Published October 7, 2013 7:49 pm

Crime • Investigators want to compare prints and a new DNA test in a controlled environment.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prosecutors are looking for more DNA evidence to build their case against alleged cold-case killer Joseph Michael Simpson.

Simpson, 46, is charged in Wasatch County's 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, for allegedly bludgeoning 17-year-old Krystal Beslanowitch to death nearly two decades ago.

Wasatch County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched on Dec. 16, 1995, to a spot along the Provo River bank, about five miles north of Heber, after a citizen found Beslanowitch's body on the east bank. Nearby, several large granite rocks — believed to be the murder weapon — were found covered in fresh blood, according to court documents.

Sorenson Forensics and the state crime lab have requested two buccal swabs each to test another DNA sample from Simpson in a controlled environment and validate the results, according to an affidavit. The request was filed Wednesday.

The same day, the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office filed a request to take a copy of Simpson's palm print for comparison against a bloody print left on Beslanowitch's wrist.

The case had gone cold until DNA testing landed a match on Simpson.

To corroborate the evidence, Wasatch County investigators flew to Florida in August, followed Simpson to a smoke shop, where he smoked and discarded a cigarette, according to the sheriff's office. The investigators collected the cigarette, tested it got another match.

Simpson used to live in Clearfield, but has since been living with his mother and step-father in Sarasota County, Fla., for about 13 years, according to a news release. He was arrested at his Florida home Tuesday without incident.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

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