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Arrest in 40-year-old murder case

By Mariano Castillo and Marlena Baldacci, CNN
updated 2:21 PM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Georgia man is charged with murder in 1974 death of Massachusetts woman
  • A DNA match led to the arrest, officials say
  • Lonzo Guthrie, 69, is fighting extradition to Massachusetts, authorities say

(CNN) -- Forty years after a Massachusetts woman was fatally stabbed, DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a suspect.

Eileen Ferro was 21 when she was stabbed to death in her home on Ladyslipper Drive in Shrewsbury, according to a local newspaper account.

On Tuesday, almost four decades to the day of her death, a Georgia man was arrested and charged with murder.

A DNA match, officials said, turned the cold case into an active prosecution.

The suspect is Lonzo Guthrie, 69, of Austell, Georgia.

Guthrie was a furniture deliveryman who had a job at Ferro's home the day before she was stabbed, Worcester County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Joe Early Jr. said. He was never on investigators' radar at the time of the killing, Early said.

Two seemingly unrelated events led to the DNA match, he said.

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In Massachusetts, investigators resubmitted evidence from the 1974 crime scene to a lab to re-evaluate it for any traces of DNA.

Separately, Guthrie violated parole for a crime he committed in Los Angeles and was required to provide a DNA sample, Early said.

These two sources of DNA provided the break that had eluded investigators for years, he said.

Douglas County, Georgia, authorities arrested Guthrie without incident following questioning by Massachusetts State Police officers, Douglas sheriff's Sgt. John Sweat said.

Guthrie was being held without bond and was fighting extradition to Massachusetts, Sweat said.

Douglas County deputies began keeping an eye on Guthrie after Massachusetts officers contacted them in November. Guthrie wasn't unknown to authorities in Douglas.

Guthrie is a registered sex offender stemming from a rape conviction in California, also in 1974.

He'd also been arrested for driving with a suspended license, Sweat said.

Most recently, Guthrie, who sometimes used the alias Norman James, occasionally worked in a business called Norman's Road Service Repair, Sweat said.

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