DNA on condom leads to cold-case arrest
A fingerprint on a condom wrapper and DNA found on a condom helped link a Grand Junction man to the investigation of the 1993 slaying of a Boulder man, according to an arrest affidavit for David John Trujillo.
Trujillo, 42, was arrested Monday at his Grand Junction home by officers with the Boulder Police Department in the slaying of David Eugene Cox.
Trujillo on Tuesday was ordered released from Boulder County Jail after a judge agreed to a $500,000 signature bond. The judge ordered that Trujillo be allowed to return to his mother’s home in Grand Junction, where he will be required to wear an ankle monitor, according to a story published Tuesday by the Boulder Daily Camera.
The judge said Trujillo has a severe medical condition and will be allowed to leave his mother’s home only for doctor appointments and court appearances, the newspaper reported. A spokeswoman for the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office characterized Trujillo’s medical condition as “relatively severe” and requiring constant treatment, but she declined to specify the condition.
Cox was 55 when he was killed Dec. 31, 1993, in his Boulder mobile home with a cast iron tea kettle. Cox was found naked, lying face down with his wrists bound behind his back, but there was no indication of a struggle.
Cox, a gay man, lived alone but was known to have multiple sexual partners whom he met at Boulder’s homeless shelter, a place where Trujillo had been living at the time, the affidavit said.
Trujillo’s DNA was not found on a swab taken from the tea kettle, but Trujillo cannot be excluded from being a partial contributor to DNA on the item, the affidavit said.
Trujillo was the last known person to see Cox alive. The two met at a bar on New Year’s Eve and went back to Cox’s residence, the affidavit said.
Denied killing man
Another man, Todd Huberty, 47, who had been in a sexual relationship with Cox, initially was detained in the investigation. Huberty had an alibi for his whereabouts that night, and there was no evidence at the scene that linked him to the crime, the affidavit said.
Trujillo denied killing Cox during interviews with Boulder police while he was serving a prison term and later while living with his mother in Grand Junction. Trujillo has lived in Grand Junction since April 2005, after he was paroled from prison.
According to the affidavit, after the cold case was reopened in 2004, Boulder police took another look at a fingerprint that had been found on a condom wrapper.
The wrapper previously had been processed with black fingerprint powder, but it was reprocessed using a cyanoacrylate fuming method and then was treated with a fluorescent dye stain. Investigators took a photo of the print with the help of a forensic light, and the quality was good enough to be admitted into a fingerprint database, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The print was determined to be a match with Trujillo’s fingerprint, the affidavit said.
Also, in early 2005 investigators matched a DNA sample of Trujillo’s to DNA found on a used condom that was in the toilet in Cox’s mobile home, the affidavit said.
At the time, Trujillo was serving a prison term in Canon City in an unrelated case, and investigators obtained further DNA samples from him for comparison. They also obtained a signed search warrant to obtain nontestimonial evidence from Trujillo.
Prison call recorded
During their first interview with Trujillo in prison, he told investigators he knew Cox from a store the man owned, and Trujillo said he had drunk alcohol with Cox a couple times. He and others, including a girl whom he didn’t know but thought was Cox’s daughter, went to Cox’s home and had drinks. Trujillo said he didn’t know how his fingerprint got on the condom and denied having sex with a man, saying, “Just because my print is there doesn’t mean I killed someone.”
Later that day, Feb. 28, 2005, police obtained a recording of a phone call Trujillo made from prison to his mother. Trujillo is recorded repeatedly telling his mother he didn’t kill Cox and that he had sex with a young girl, and that “he’s sure this is where the condoms came in,” the affidavit said.
Investigators later learned Cox did not have a biological daughter.
Police said they interviewed Trujillo in December 2005 at his mother’s Grand Junction home. Trujillo again denied killing Cox.
Trujillo told police he had lunch every day with Cox and he saw him again on New Year’s Eve 1993 after Cox had gotten drunk at a party with the girl. He told police the three left and went to Cox’s mobile home and had a drink. He said he wore a condom because he had sex with the girl and threw it away in the toilet, and that he was in Cox’s trailer only for about half an hour, the affidavit said.