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DNA Leads to Arrest in 1984 Cold Case Murder (Video)

Judy Weaver’s Murder in 1984

In June 1984, Judy Weaver was found bound and burned inside her home in Everett, Washington. Reports of a fire led firefighters to discover her body on a burning bed, partially naked, beaten, and tied up. The medical examiner determined that Weaver was strangled before the fire was set. A telephone cord was tightly wrapped around her neck, and the fire was started with a jar of Pond’s cold cream. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished before much of the evidence was destroyed.

Breakthrough in the Case

Decades later, DNA evidence from a fabric ligature used to bind Weaver’s wrists matched Mitchell Gaff through a CODIS hit. Undercover officers then secretly collected items to confirm the match. This breakthrough was possible due to advancements in technology and persistent efforts by detectives.

Mitchell Gaff’s Criminal History

Mitchell Gaff has a history of violent offenses. In 1979, he attempted to rape a woman at gunpoint, threatening to cut her throat. The woman managed to escape, and Gaff received a five-year suspended sentence and probation. In 1984, he violated his probation by attacking two sisters while they slept, binding them with a telephone extension cord and beating them. One sister escaped and called the police. Gaff was civilly committed for 11 years and released in 2006, after which he changed his name to Sam Wise Price.

Court Proceedings

Mitchell Gaff made his first appearance in Snohomish County Court for the rape and murder of Judy Weaver. He is being held on an aggravated first-degree murder charge. The court found probable cause for charges including rape, arson, and murder. The judge noted that the evidence established a clear and convincing propensity for violence, posing a substantial danger to the community.

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