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Florida man arrested after DNA on beer can hyperlinks him to ‘ugly’ 1996 chilly case homicide, investigators say

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A Florida man has been arrested in connection to the bloody homicide of a comfort retailer supervisor who was stabbed 73 occasions in 1996 after DNA from a discarded beer can linked him to the cold case, investigators mentioned Thursday.

Kenneth Stough Jr., 54, was taken into custody in Lake County on Tuesday greater than 25 years after the murder of 31-year-old Terence Paquette, Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters at a press conference.


Paquette was discovered {dead} on the morning of Feb. 3, 1996, inside the lavatory of the Lil’ Champ comfort retailer in northwest Orange County. Mina described the scene as “very ugly.” 

Paquette had been stabbed 73 occasions and had his throat slit. Swimming pools of blood stained the ground and partitions in images proven by the sheriff’s workplace. The money deposit from the shop was additionally lacking.

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Kenneth Stough Jr., 54, was taken into custody in Lake County on Tuesday greater than 25 years after the homicide of Terence Paquette. Paquette was stabbed 73 occasions and had his throat slit within the lavatory of a northwest Orange County comfort retailer the place he labored.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Workplace)

Whereas murder detectives working the crime scene in 1996 had found the blood of an unknown particular person inside the shop, Mina mentioned that on the time there was no solution to make an arrest based mostly on blood proof with out evaluating it to a different blood pattern and the case went chilly.

In 2003, the blood proof was entered right into a database, however no matches have been discovered. The case remained chilly till the sheriff’s chilly case unit reopened the investigation in 2019.

Utilizing a droplet of the unknown particular person’s blood recovered from the deal with of a freezer, forensic genealogists with the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement in 2021 decided the blood got here from certainly one of three brothers.

Detectives centered on Stough, who they mentioned had labored on the comfort retailer for a while earlier than Paquette. Detectives additionally mentioned Stough lived in an condo throughout the road from Paquette in 1996 and would usually frequent the shop.

Detective Brian Savelli monitored Stough and adopted him to a Lake County fuel station, the place he noticed Stough throw away a number of beer cans in a dumpster. Savelli recovered the cans and had them swabbed for DNA. Investigators decided the DNA on the cans matched the DNA discovered on the crime scene.

Stough was charged with first-degree homicide with a weapon. Savelli mentioned detectives have been nonetheless working to find out a motive.


Whereas none of Paquette’s household was dwelling to obtain information of the arrest, detectives knowledgeable his buddies in regards to the breakthrough within the 25-year-old case.

“I feel it’s essential to remind our public once more, remind our survivors and the households of all our victims on the market that we by no means, ever neglect about these {cases},” Minas mentioned.

Because the Orange County Sheriff’s chilly case unit was first fashioned in 2019, the unit has solved eight murders courting again to 1984, Minas mentioned.

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