Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 51-year-old man Tuesday accused in a 1992 homicide after investigators discovered that fingerprints allegedly link him to the scene of the crime.
Edward Belin, 2946 Monroe Ave., was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count of principal to first-degree murder, booking records show.
Belin is accused in the death of Leonard Noriega, 44, the arrest warrant says.
At press time, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said via email that she would have to speak with detectives to find out why it took so long for the fingerprint evidence to reach the Unresolved Homicides Division.
Detectives responded to 7176 Skylark Ave. on Dec. 3, 1992, after Noriega’s son and cousin found him at the home, the warrant says.
Noriega had not been seen by family members or neighbors for at least two weeks, the warrant says.
Noriega’s body was badly decomposed and had been bound with an electrical cord and a white cloth, the warrant says.
Autopsy results showed Noriega was bludgeoned to death with a blunt instrument and had his skull crushed, the warrant says.
Detectives discovered the Skylark home also had been ransacked and had its air conditioning and heating vents removed, the warrant says.
Detectives found fingerprints throughout the home, including on one of the central air vents, the warrant says.
However, the evidence in the case was not received by the Sheriff’s Office’s Unresolved Homicides Division until May 2012, the warrant says.
Evidence for possible DNA extraction was sent to State Police Crime Lab for analysis, and the fingerprints were given to the Sheriff’s Office’s fingerprint technicians, the warrant says.
A Sheriff’s Office fingerprint technician told detectives on Feb. 1 that fingerprints from one of the heater vents matched Belin’s prints, the warrant says.
Sheriff’s detectives looked back through old deputy reports from the original case and discovered that Noriega’s home was locked and that the keys were found at the scene, the warrant says.
Detectives believe that evidence was left at the scene by the perpetrators, the warrant says.
Family members of the victim told deputies that they did not know Belin, the warrant says.
Editor’s note: This article was changed Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, to correct the age of Leonard Noriega.