A Kentucky man has been charged in the 1994 rape and murder of a northwestern Indiana woman found strangled to death inside her home with an electrical cord.
Gerald L. Smith, 60, of Madisonville, Kentucky, is charged with rape, murder and murder while committing or attempting to commit rape in the killing of 69-year-old Gloria Hansell.
Hansell, a widow who lived alone and relied on an in-home oxygen machine, was found dead in her Gary home in June 1994. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with an electrical cord attached to a box fan, according to court records.
Smith was charged after investigators with the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team submitted evidence to a laboratory and learned Smith was a likely contributor to DNA found in Hansell’s sexual assault kit, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
A DNA profile from that kit was entered into the Combined DNA Index System, and Smith, who was 32 years old at the time of Hansell’s death, was found to be a match, court records state.
A witness told police that Smith knew Hansell’s family, had been to her home at least twice, and that Hansell had told a relative Smith had made an unwanted advance, the FBI said.
A Lake County judge appointed Smith an attorney during his Wednesday initial hearing. A message seeking comment was left for that attorney Thursday by The Associated Press.