Skip to main content

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.

Now-dead convict likely linked to Florida woman's '89 disappearance

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.

Taken: The coldest case ever solved

Senior couple charged in decades old cold cases

Oklahoma deputies pull bodies from lake, may date to '60s, 1970 disappearances

Police: Evidence in killing of former beauty queen points to ex-priest

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
What will happen to Scotland's business (not to mention its currency) if they vote to leave?
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
The Ebola virus, very deadly and currently without a cure, is fast-spreading throughout the small West African country.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Go to any provincial city in China and you'd be forgiven for thinking the national youth pastimes are online gaming and flirting.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 6:32 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
ISIS has slaughtered hundreds. Now nearly 40 nations have agreed to take the fight to the militants. But what can they do?
updated 4:51 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
North Korea calls its human rights a "superior system."
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
In Wenzhou, called the "Jerusalem of China," authorities have demolished churches.
Are you Muslim? What do you want the world to know about your religion?
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A number of Paralympic athletes in Ghana are hoping to use sport to change negative public perceptions.
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT