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DNA technology leads Tallahassee police to a cold case murder suspect

COLD CASE seal stamp with corroded texture. Red vector rubber print of COLD CASE tag with corroded texture. Text tag is placed between double parallel lines.
TPD credits modern technology with solving a 1996 murder case.

Tallahassee Police have arrested a murder suspect in a case that happened 26 years ago.

James Branner was found dead at the Prince Murat Motel on North Monroe Street (it has since been renamed) in 1996. TPD reopened the case two years ago. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement then processed DNA found at the crime scene using new forensic technology. The findings pointed detectives toward Alan Lefferts as the suspect.

Following an investigation, detectives say they had enough evidence to arrest the now 71-year-old for killing Branner in a fight. Lefferts was taken into custody this week at his home in the Jacksonville area with the help of Baker County sheriff’s deputies.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.