Houston police nab suspect in 1984 murders of sisters

Houston cold case detectives investigating the murders of two sisters are reporting an arrest, bringing to a close a case that had baffled investigators for nearly 31 years.

Police say a tip led to the arrest of Edmond Beauregard Degan in the killings of Yleen Kennedy, 33, and 23-year-old Lillie Kennedy on March 5, 1984.

KTRK-TV reported Friday that both women were shot and their home ransacked and property taken. The older sister also was beaten, stabbed and sexually assaulted.

While taking another look at the case in 2009, the Houston Police Department’s Cold Case Unit developed a DNA profile from evidence recovered from the murder scene. However, the unit was unable to come up with a match when the profile was checked against a national database.

Degan was arrested Wednesday. The station said the tipster was a suspect in an Indiana crime and came forward late last year.

“Ultimately, that gentleman was able to name Edmond Degan as a person who had come to the witness’ house after the sisters had been killed and he made certain statements that he had killed some individuals, that he had property including a knife and a gun with him,” Harris County Assistant District Attorney Bill Exley said in court Friday, according to KTRK.

The tip prompted investigators to ask Degan to submit to a DNA test. He complied voluntarily. His DNA matched the DNA on file from the murders.

Degan has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.

One of Degan’s neighbors, Peter Hartley, told KTRK he knew Degan for a long time.

“He’d been on dope a lot, he’s got a rap sheet about this thick,” Hartley said motioning with his hands.

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that Degan has spent time behind bars for various crimes. He was working as a construction worker when he was arrested.