Former Fort Bliss soldier accused of 1970 murder acquitted after evidence dispute

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The case against a former Fort Bliss soldier accused of a murder more than 40 years ago has been thrown out after a dispute over key pieces of evidence.

Willie James Johnson, 70, was accused of killing Doris Rivers in 1970. The murder investigation was considered a cold case until police arrested Johnson in 2015.

The case was reopened after El Paso Police Detective Michael Aman sent several items to be tested for DNA evidence, including fingernail clippings from Rivers.

Police had said DNA on the clippings matched Johnson’s. However, the person who analyzed the DNA had died.

Judge Gonzalo Garcia said the evidence was inadmissible and acquitted Johnson of murder.

The state cannot appeal the ruling.

Story first appeared on KFox14.