Homicide

Police use DNA from discarded cigarette butt to link man to 2014 Chicago murder

A discarded cigarette butt at the scene of a 2014 gang-related killing in Chicago led authorities to arrest and charge a man with murder Thursday.

Jeffery Freeman, 24, was charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 alley shooting that left one man dead, the Chicago Tribune reported. A judge ordered Freeman held on $1 million bail.

Authorities said Freeman was instructed by his fellow gang members to go and “check” Torrence Pickens, who was smoking and drinking in an alley and moved to a car when members of Freeman’s gang approached Pickens for allegedly being on their territory.

Surveillance footage captured Freeman, who was smoking a cigarette, holding a loaded gun and walking toward Pickens. He tossed the cigarette butt as he approached Pickens and fired multiple gunshots.

Police found Pickens’ body sitting in the car. The person who was with Pickens gave a description of the shooter, according to the Chicago Tribune. The description matched Freeman’s.

Police also recovered the cigarette butt and video footage. A DNA sample from Freeman was then compared to the DNA from the discarded cigarette and it was matched, according to prosecutors.