A 1977 Richland murder case has been cleared up, thanks to recent advancements in DNA technology and practices.

39 years ago, a woman named Vicki Bridges was beaten to death by an assailant in her Richland apartment, her two children were in the next room.

At her autopsy, numerous swabs of evidence were taken, but because DNA testing did not exist, they were simply stored away. Then in 1997, the evidence was sent to the State Crime Lab, and resulted in charges being filed against Brian Todd Skinner. Until then police had their strong suspicions, but no concrete proof to tie him to the killing.

During the trial, evidence was presented showing Skinner's DNA was present, but also unknown markers from a person labeled as "Individual A." That led to a theory that Skinner had an accomplice. He ended up being convicted, but not long ago, the same swabs and evidence were retested at the crime lab.

It was found the "Individual A" markers were actually from the crime lab workers. Between it's inception and now, DNA technology and practices have advanced so that this kind of incident is almost unheard of. Following the recent findings, the Benton County Prosecutor and other officials have formally declared Skinner acted alone, and did NOT have an accomplice.


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