Norfolk detectives, prosecutor get FBI award for solving cold case murder


Credit: Norfolk Police Department/Twitter

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police detectives and a prosecutor in Norfolk who helped solve a 1981 murder case received an award Thursday from the FBI.

Investigator Jerry Edwards, Detective Neal Baldwin, Detective Melvin Grover, Detective Victor Powell, Detective Ray Smith and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Evans II received the FBI’s 2019 Biometric Identification Award for their work in solving the killing of 20-year-old Donna Walker.

Walker was found dead in her Norfolk apartment on Sept. 5, 1981 after she had been stabbed 40 times. A latent fingerprint found in the bathroom became the focus of the investigation as Walker lived alone.

The fingerprint evidence was submitted to the FBI’s new Next Generation Identification (NGI) System in 2015 — and potential matches were returned within 30 minutes.

One of those matches, Daniel Johnston, was identified as the suspect. Johnston was incarcerated in New York at the for another homicide at the time.

Johnston was indicted on charges including first-degree murder in 2016 and was later convicted by a jury in October 2018. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The FBI’s Biometric Identification Award is given to an officer or agency that solves a major case using the NGI system.

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