Edmond Degan
Edmond Degan

DNA Leads to Arrest in 30-Year-Old Cold Case

HPD announced this morning that it has made an arrest in the fatal stabbing of two sisters in the Heights that went unsolved for three decades.

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Police say a relative found the bodies of Yleen and Lillie Kennedy, 33 and 23 years old, around March 5, 1984 on the 600 block of east 12th street. Yleen had been beaten, shot, stabbed and sexually assaulted, while her sister had been shot to death. When police arrived, they found the home had been ransacked.

The case went nowhere until 2009, when HPD's cold case unit reviewed the murder, processed some evidence taken from the scene and found DNA. But back in 2009, there wasn't a hit when HPD ran the DNA profile through CODIS.

The case remained stagnant until late 2014, police say, when investigators got a tip from someone suggesting Edmond Beauregard Degan might be a suspect. Investigators discovered that Degan, now 57, still lived in Houston. Police somehow managed to get a sample of Degan's DNA and ran it through the system. Degan was a "high probability match" to the DNA lifted from evidence found at the crime scene, police said Friday. Police arrested Degan on Wednesday and charged him with capital murder.

According to court records, Degan pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon back in 1985 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison (it's not clear how much of that time he served). He was also convicted of misdemeanor assault and terroristic threat charges in 2001 and 2002, court records show.

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