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Police have made an unusual breakthrough and arrested a suspect in a 12-year-old murder case after DNA was discovered on a sweet potato left at the crime scene, court records show. Devars Hampton was arrested in Massachusetts on Friday in connection with the murder of Todd Limpley — who was shot and killed in 2011.
Hampton, 40, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.
But prosecutors say DNA evidence – found on a sweet potato – places the suspect at the scene in the village of Hyannis, Massachusetts, on the night of the murder.
The arrest affidavit states that on the night of the murder, police found shell casings and a sweet potato on the ground outside the window where Todd was shot.
Prosecutors believe the sweet potato was used as a silencer for the gun – a tactic used in an episode of the popular drama The Wire.
Police also found a phone at the scene in the name of Marlo Stanfield, a fictional character on the hit show.
“Sweet potatoes are used as silencers,” First Assistant District Attorney Jessica Elumba told ABC News.
Noting the show’s similarities, Elumba said: “It’s an interesting fact pattern.”
At the time of the murder, Hampton was reportedly wearing a GPS tracker after previously being convicted of another crime.
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Elumba declined to comment on why it took police 12 years to arrest a suspect despite there being ample evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Russell Ionas told the local paper, “I cannot comment specifically on the delay. The evidence has yet to be assessed.”
But Hampton’s attorney claimed he was prepared to launch a “vigorous defense.”
He added that “this is a very old case”, which he is “confident” will result in his client’s innocence.
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