Boston man charged in long-unsolved slaying of Tufts grad
BOSTON (AP) — A Boston man was charged Thursday in the long-unsolved killing of a 21-year-old Philadelphia woman who was found dead in her Boston apartment more than two decades ago.
Lena Bruce graduated with honors from Tufts University in May 1992 and was the only black woman in her class to receive a degree in electrical engineering. Two months later, her roommate found her body in their South End apartment.
James Witkowski, 42, of Boston, was indicted Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder in Bruce’s death. Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said investigators were able to solve the case after Witkowski was ordered to submit a DNA sample in an unrelated criminal case. His DNA matched evidence from the crime scene.
A wallet found outside Bruce’s building on the night her body was discovered contained a slip of paper with one fingerprint that the Boston Police Department’s latent print unit matched to Witkowski’s left thumb, Conley said.
“With a job offer from one of the country’s premier engineering companies, Lena’s future looked bright,” Conley said. “In every way, Lena Bruce was just the kind of person we want in our city. Had she been allowed to grow into a successful woman, there’s no telling what she would have accomplished.”
Conley said Bruce’s parents died before prosecutors could tell them that a suspect had been identified.
Witkowski is now serving an 18-month sentence in the Suffolk County House of Correction on a probation violation in a 2013 assault and battery case.
No date has been set yet for his arraignment on the murder charge. It could not immediately be determined if he had retained a lawyer in the new case.