Jerry Westrom was probably thinking that he was in the clear and had moved on from some alleged events that he, seemingly, had gotten away with. Unfortunately, for him, cops caught the 52-year-old Minnesota man in one of the most unique ways possible — and it led to Westrom being arrested and charged for a murder that took place all the way back in 1993.
According to CBS News, Jerry Westrom was busted after investigators for the murder of Jeanne Ann Childs 26 years ago matched his DNA with that at the crime scene after the suspect had wiped his mouth with a napkin and tossed it in the trash can while at his daughter’s hockey game. Reportedly, cops dug through the garbage to scoop the napkin, then ran tests by comparing samples, linking Westrom back to the murder. The case had been reopened in 2015 following advances in DNA screening.
With the case now open for the past four years, the samples from the scene were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and a private DNA company, which were later run through an online genealogy website, which linked Jerry Westrom to the crime scene and a possible suspect. From there, investigators basically tracked Westrom online to public places, secretly trailing him to his daughter’s hockey game. Talk about some badass maneuvering by cops, huh?
Here’s what Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told CBS Minnesota about the investigators’ practice of securing the napkin for DNA:
“When you discard things in the trash, the Supreme Court often says it’s free game,” Freeman said. “And so he discarded the napkin in a container and threw it in the trash, so they could get it.”
Following his arrest, Jerry Westrom denied that he was in the victim’s apartment, alleging that he didn’t know the victim, nor did he have sex with any women in the state of Minneapolis in the year of the murder, 1993, according to CBS Minnesota. The suspect was released on $500,000 bail and is awaiting a court date on March 13.
The lawyer for Jerry Westrom, Steven Meshbesher, also added that his client had lived in Minnesota in his entire life and that he wasn’t a flight risk, saying, “what we’ve got is a very unsolved case and it was charged, in my opinion, prematurely.”
Who knows how all this is going to shake out for the guy, but this is some hardcore stealth investigating, so it’ll be interesting to see how things end up for Jerry Westrom considering his DNA is linked to samples from the murder scene. Either way, this is all pretty interesting — even if it is coming 26 years after the fact.