20 years later: Murder suspect arrested, indicted in 2003 cold case

DNA led investigators to find the suspect.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 2:04 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 2:08 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A man was indicted on murder charges Monday in Hamilton County for a 2003 murder, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Robert Stewart, 64, is accused of murdering Herman Brown and could face a maximum life sentence in prison if he is found guilty, Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers said in a press release.

On Feb. 15, 2003, Cincinnati police responded to the 2500 block of Sarvis Court for a wellness check.

Powers says the 911 caller told dispatchers that a strong odor was coming from the apartment.

After they entered the apartment, Brown was found naked and dead on the floor with an extension cord wrapped around his neck and multiple stab wounds, Powers explained. Blood was also found in the bathroom sink.

Investigators collected several pieces of evidence around the apartment, including cigarette butts, a swab of the victim’s genitals and a blood lift from the bathroom sink, the press release said.

Powers says two DNA profiles were found on the evidence: Brown’s DNA and an unknown person’s. However, after exhausting all their resources, investigators could not find a match to the unknown DNA.

The homicide case went cold until this year.

According to prosecutors, the DNA profile from the cigarettes was re-extracted and entered into a forensic genetic genealogy search. The search matched the DNA to Stewart.

Investigators conducted further DNA analysis and confirmed that the DNA on the cigarette butts from the night Brown was murdered belonged to Stewart, prosecutors explained.

Stewart was arrested in Lima on Sept. 15 and was extradited back to Hamilton County where he is currently being held in the justice center on a $500,000 bond, Powers said.

Stewart was indicted on two counts of murder and one count of felonious assault, court records show.

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