Back in 1989, Zahia Salem found on the couch of her Boston apartment with a black eye, broken ribs and bruises which indicated she had been sexually assaulted.
But despite a high profile investigation at the time, the case went cold.
Now more than two decades later a DNA sample collected from 66-year-old Charles Brook Jr, who is locked up for an unrelated rape conviction,
has matched that found on a Newport cigarette butt in Salem's apartment.
Brook has denied the charges, but did admit to recognizing the old lady from a photo, as a woman he'd met in a Catholic thrift store and helped home, although he denied ever entering the premises.
According to the Boston Herald he also told police he did smoke Newport cigarettes in 1989.
Brook, who could ask for parole next year, after being sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, for the other rape back in 1991, he denied any involvement in the murder.
But Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley was confident they had the right man.
He said: “We’ve seen it exonerate the innocent and hold the guilty accountable. Here, it allowed us to reach back more than two decades to identify a suspect in a terrible, terrible crime."