The state's computerized fingerprint identification system has led to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of an Anaheim man more than nine years ago, police said Thursday.
Johnnie Earl Moore, 29, of Los Angeles was arraigned on a murder charge in North Orange County Municipal Court on Thursday, said Anaheim Police Lt. Bill Wright. He said officers bearing a warrant charging Moore with murder apprehended him at his home Wednesday afternoon.
Moore, whose fingerprint from a recent jail booking allegedly was matched with a 1977 print found at the murder scene, was booked into Anaheim City Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. He was taken to Orange County Jail after the court hearing, Wright said.
"How about that," Wright said with obvious pleasure. "Over nine years and finally we got him."
Thousands of fingerprints in a pool compiled by the state's new high-technology identification system were compared in recent months to one found at the murder scene on May 13, 1977, in which Bulmaro Amaya, then 25, was shot to death in his bed and his son, Mario, then 3, was critically wounded as he slept beside his father.
Amaya lived on East Balsam Avenue with his wife, Irene, and their son and infant daughter. Irene Amaya was at work at a nearby hospital when the home was entered sometime before dawn. Police suspect the shooting took place during a burglary attempt.
Mario, now 12 and living with his mother and sister in Yorba Linda, was wounded in the spine and remains partially paralyzed, Wright said Thursday.
"What's so tragic about the whole thing," Wright said, "is that we had a 3-year-old boy who was shot in the spine and he's still a paraplegic now in his preteens. . . . The statute of limitations has run out for prosecuting this guy on attempted murder and burglary charges."
No Statute of Limitations
There is no statute of limitation on a murder charge.
The Amayas could not be reached Thursday.
Last week, the state Department of Justice added more fingerprints to its database, leading to a match in the Amaya case, Wright said.
"They advised us that they had resubmitted our fingerprints and got a match up, and they had identified the fingerprint as Johnnie Moore's."
The 1977 fingerprint had been linked with "the most recent fingerprint of when (Moore) was booked," Wright said. He would not say when or where Moore was jailed, or on what charges.
After the match was made, Wright said, Anaheim police detectives obtained a warrant from a North Orange County Municipal Court judge in Fullerton charging Moore with murder and attempted to locate the suspect.
Officers arrested Moore Wednesday afternoon at his Los Angeles home, Wright said. By Thursday morning, he added, Amaya's widow and relatives had been given the good news.
"They were real happy, naturally, that someone had been arrested," Wright said.