Old Baseball Hat Gives New Leads, Yields Arrest www.privateofficer.com

Washington D.C. Oct. 18, 2007

When a gunman killed D.C. security guard Thurman "Craig" Brown during a robbery a decade ago, he left a clue to his identity: a baseball cap that tumbled off his head at the scene.
It took D.C. police 10 years, but this week they said they had solved the puzzle. On Monday, they arrested John Williams in Beltsville, saying DNA from the baseball cap led them to charge Williams with felony murder while armed.

I never thought they'd catch the man who killed my baby," Thomasine Brown, 68, of the District said yesterday as she looked lovingly at a photograph of her first-born son.
Thurman Brown, 36, was shot four times during a morning robbery July 17, 1997, at the D.C. Teachers Federal Credit Union at 903 D St. NE. It happened as he struggled with a gunman who was trying to rob the credit union.
Brown, a Wells Fargo security guard, had worked at the credit union for 10 years, holding the door for customers and greeting them with a kind word. His mother said he was dedicated to his job and thought it was the best one he had ever had.
Williams, 52, was ordered held without bond yesterday at an arraignment hearing in D.C. Superior Cour. Williams, a warehouse worker in Beltsville, lives with his mother in the first block of R Street NE, according to court records.
Brown said that she did not know about the court hearing yesterday but that she wants to see the man accused of killing her son.
"I'd like to see what this man looks like," she said, her eyes filling with tears. "And ask him why he did this to my son."
According to charging papers filed in court, the FBI contacted D.C. police in June, saying it had a DNA match in its database that might help solve the Brown case. The DNA was taken from the baseball cap found at the scene.
It matched the DNA of Williams, who had been convicted of several crimes, including a 1998 armed robbery of a Foot Locker store in the District, court papers show.
After police got the information from the FBI, they developed their case until this week, when they were able to make an arrest.

Lt. Robert Glover of the D.C. police homicide unit said he was proud of the detectives in the cold case squad.

This goes to the dedication of our detectives in our cold case unit," Glover said. "They didn't let their leads dry up."
He said the case should send a message to criminals in the District.

If you've done something, we're coming after you," Glover said. "We're not going to rest until we close these cases."
Brown said that the past 10 years have been a struggle and that she thinks of her son every day, especially when she turns on the stereo he gave her for her birthday. Mother and son liked the same kind of music and listened to 1950s tunes together.
"He used to come to me every day and say, 'Mama, I love you,' " she said. "He was the apple of my eye. That's what hurts. I don't have him no more."

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