Police Make An Arrest in Cold Case Murder in Waipio - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Police Make An Arrest in Cold Case Murder in Waipio

Evelyn Luka Evelyn Luka
Darnell Griffin Darnell Griffin
David Katina David Katina
Capt. Frank Fujii Capt. Frank Fujii
Wayne Kimoto Wayne Kimoto

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) - She was murdered eight years ago. Now, a breakthrough in the cold case. Using DNA technology, Honolulu police arrest and charge a man in the 1999 killing of a young woman in Waipio.

David Katina says his mind is racing. His next-door neighbor, 48-year-old Darnell Griffin, is now accused of killing a woman eight years ago.

"He knew my kids. We knew his kids and his wife," Katina said. "And he's a good guy."

Twenty-year-old Evelyn Luka was found unconscious and severely beaten along the H-2 Freeway near Ka Uka Boulevard September 6th, 1999. Investigators say early that morning, she was seen leaving Venus Nite Club on Kapiolani Boulevard with a man.

Police released a composite sketch of the suspect. But the case went cold, until now.

"DNA analysts from our Scientific Investigation Section informed our Homicide Detail that they got a hit," Capt. Frank Fujii, Honolulu Police Department, said.

He says the DNA sample taken off the victim matches Griffin's DNA profile, which is already in the national database because he was convicted of murdering a 26-year-old woman back in 1980.

"In both cases, the victims died of strangulation," Fujii said.

"I'm shocked," Katina said. "He did tell me he had, you know, trouble with the law years ago and he was getting his life back together again. In fact, he visited our church."

HPD crime lab officials say there are more than 4.2 million convicted offender, DNA profiles in the national database. They say this is their first DNA cold case arrest.

"Sometimes, it's not very satisfying because you can not, you're not able to provide the information that the investigators need," Wayne Kimoto, HPD's forensic lab supervisor, said. "But in times such as these, when we are able to provide information, we're very happy."

Police won't say why the case broke open now.

Griffin was released on parole in 1996, after serving 15 years in prison for the earlier murder. Now, he's being held in lieu of $5 million bail.

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