DNA solves 25-year-old St. Petersburg homicide cold case, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — Far more than 25 several years back, Michael Scheumeister, 45, was located dead around Mirror Lake Library. His death was dominated a homicide and for the future 2½ many years his circumstance was unsolved.

On Friday, the St. Petersburg Law enforcement Division declared its Chilly Scenario Device had closed Scheumeister’s murder investigation soon after detectives attained new DNA evidence connecting Patricia Morris to the slaying. Morris was 47 at the time of the homicide and died in 2010.

“Based on the new DNA evidence and prior investigations, this scenario is now viewed as closed with the demise of the offender,” a office news release reported.

Scheumeister was observed in the early morning of Aug. 14, 1997, in close proximity to the Mirror Lake Library, 280 Fifth St. N, in accordance to law enforcement. Detectives suspected theft was the motive driving his killing. He was located on his back with his trousers pockets turned within out. He experienced cashed his paycheck previously that working day but the revenue from his wallet was missing.

The health-related examiner concluded Scheumeister died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Investigators later learned that Scheumeister was at a bar the prior night owning beverages with Morris. In an job interview with detectives, Morris confirmed acquiring beverages with Scheumeister and leaving in a taxi jointly, but she explained the two went their independent ways right after currently being dropped off by the taxi.

A St. Petersburg Occasions tale printed two times following the murder reported detectives distributed flyers with Scheumeister’s photo. In accordance to the report, he lived on the 500 block of Fourth Avenue S, about a fifty percent-mile south of in which his overall body was identified.

Virtually 20 years later, on May 18, 2016, detectives ran a criminal record report on Morris. The report confirmed expenses of prostitution, battery on law enforcement officers and medicines. The report also explained Morris died on Sept. 19, 2010, in Hillsborough County. A quick obituary at the time said she was originally from Plant Town and still left behind a daughter, among the other family members and close friends.

In March of this calendar year, detectives retrieved Scheumeister’s trousers from the assets and evidence division and submitted them to the Pinellas County Forensics Lab for DNA reevaluation. On Nov. 2, detectives been given a reaction from the Merged DNA Index Process demonstrating that the DNA within the front and rear pants pockets belonged to Morris.

Detective Wallace Pavelski, who will work in the agency’s cold situation device, mentioned he revisits aged instances to see if there’s proof that can be submitted for testing. Scheumeister’s pants experienced not been processed before, to his awareness. Detectives at the time relied seriously on obvious proof, presented the systems obtainable, he reported.

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“At the time, if they seemed at the pants visibly and they didn’t see any blood or just about anything on it, then they might not have run it at the time,” explained Pavelski, who has labored with the agency for 17 decades.

Pavelski claimed the murder appeared to be a “crime of prospect,” as Morris understood Scheumeister had cash and was intoxicated at the time.

“It just presented an opportunity for her to get advantage of the situation,” he stated.

Pavelski claimed it felt fantastic to lastly bring the scenario to a near.

“I like to carry closure to the victims,” he stated. “I look at all the conditions the same. I look at them all just as critically.”

Police advised Scheumeister’s brother, Rory Scheumeister, that the scenario experienced been shut.

Rory Scheumeister claimed he was pleasantly shocked when he bought the information. Having worked as a law enforcement officer for 25 yrs, he is aware it’s unusual for chilly instances to get solved.

“For 25 many years, I considered it was unsolvable,” he mentioned.

Scheumeister remembered his brother as a “free spirit” who traveled the state, hitchhiked and joined the Navy.

“He didn’t have earned to be murdered the way he was,” Rory Scheumeister said.

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s Chilly Scenario Device was produced in 2015. Main Anthony Holloway tasked the squad with looking at aged homicides and missing people instances solely. At the time, there ended up 212 chilly scenarios relationship again to 1962. Pavelski mentioned there are at present 218 open cold conditions.

Eleanore Beatty

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