More than three decades after 73-year-old Mildred McKinney was sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled to death in her home, police in Texas have arrested a suspect in her murder. Authorities announced yesterday that Stephen Alan Thomas, 53, is being held in the Williamson County Jail on $1 million bond, charged with capital murder for McKinney’s 1980 death.
Convicted serial killer Henry Lee Lucas had confessed to her murder, but that confession, along with several other admissions Lucas had made before his 2001 death, has been discredited.
Thomas’ arrest came after the ligatures found on McKinney’s body were tested for DNA. After the test revealed a positive match for Thomas, police traveled to Austin where he lived to interview him. He initially denied everything, including ever being in McKinney’s home, where his DNA and latent fingerprints were also found.
“I’ve been an officer for almost 20 years and this was the worst homicide that I’ve ever seen. From looking at pictures and having this case for almost eight years now, this is just total brutality for this poor little woman,” Sgt. John Foster, who’d been working on the case, told ABC news.