A Jefferson Parish grand jury has handed up a second-degree murder indictment against Donnie London, a 60-year-old Iberville Parish man who police said confessed in January to the murder of a Jefferson woman 32 years ago.
A routine review of cold cases by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in December turned up a genetic match linking London to the killing of Elma Kolman, who was 73 when her body was found in a vacant lot near her Monticello Avenue home on April 7, 1984.
Investigators soon tracked London to a nursing home in Plaquemine, where he lay bedridden, and obtained a confession from him.
Kolman, who often was seen by neighbors walking around the neighborhood, was reported missing the day before her body was discovered. An autopsy found she had died of asphyxia and strangulation and had suffered traumatic injuries while being sexually assaulted.
Investigators’ leads went nowhere, and the search for her killer eventually stalled.
More than three decades later, however, JPSO Capt. Dennis Thornton discovered that the genetic profile of Kolman’s attacker, created by the crime lab from a piece of her clothing, matched London’s DNA, which had since been entered into federal law enforcement databases.
Thornton also discovered that London lived at a Gen. Ogden Street address in New Orleans that was close to Kolman’s home in Jefferson at the time she was killed.
London has a criminal history including 11 felony arrests for rape, burglary and narcotics violations, with convictions for drug and burglary charges.
Deputies said London told investigators he saw Kolman walking near the vacant lot in the 300 block of Monticello the day she was killed and tried to rob her. When she resisted, he raped and killed her, they said.
While police said in January that London also confessed to the sexual assault, he was indicted only on the murder charge.
London faces life in prison if convicted.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.