Sacto 9-1-1
May 5, 2009
Redding police say DNA links inmate to 20-year-old strangling

By Bill Lindelof

Redding police have obtained an arrest warrant charging a state prison inmate with a 20-year-old homicide.

Police said Brian Harper, 39, of Redding, an inmate at Corcoran State Prison in Kings County, is linked through DNA evidence with the killing of Judith Hasselstrom, whose body was found Aug. 7, 1988 in the city's Caldwell Park.

Hasselstrom's body, clad only in underwear, was found under what police said was bamboo. Officers found blood and fingerprints on the bamboo but had no luck finding a match.

An autopsy revealed that Hasselstrom had been strangled.

Police said a break in the case occurred when Harper was arrested and found guilty of robbing a Redding bank Nov. 7, 2007. Sentenced to state prison, his fingerprints and DNA samples were entered into a file system that led to his arrest on the cold case.

Redding police said Harper initially denied knowing about the Hasselstrom killing. However, according to a press release, he admitted to the crime when confronted with DNA and fingerprint evidence.

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