Murder of Elderly Minnie Elkins from Lubbock Texas by Hub City 10-8

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Show Notes

On the first full episode of Hub City 10-8, we speak to Lubbock Police Department investigator, Zach Johnson, about the murder of Minnie Elkins, a 93-year-old grandmother who was beaten to death In her bed and hear the story of how DNA identified her killer 23 years after the crime.

Cover Art by Ashley Medrano.
Content by Kenda Martinez.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/hubcity10_8)

Transcript

Transcript provided by Podscribe.ai

(0s):
Welcome to true crime by Indy Drop-in each week we feature an episode from the best independent creators hit subscribe for more great, true crime content. If you would like to help indie drop-in support indie creators, you can buy us a coffee. Just go to https://buymeacoffee.com/indiedropin or click the link in the show notes below today’s episode is from hub city 10, eight. Don’t forget to check out the show notes for links to subscribe and follow us on social media. Enjoy the show.

Welcome to Hub City 10-8 the Texas true crime podcasts. That features cases from the Lubbock, Texas and South Plains area. I’m your host Kenda Martinez.

(41s):
Let’s get the legal stuff out of the way. This podcast contains situations that may trigger some listeners that may include homicide, sexual assault, prostitution, drug use abuse against children and the elderly and graphic descriptions of crime scenes and the harming of animals. This podcast may contain adult language. The views and opinions in this podcast are expressly that of the podcast creators and are not meant to represent the views and opinions of any individual, our law enforcement agency, unless otherwise stated names of witnesses and minor players to the story may have been changed to protect their identity and privacy. Thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to our first poll episode today. Recovering the case of many Elkins and 93 year old great-grandmother who was murdered in her sleep in 1989.

(1m 25s):
Many’s murder was solved by decades, old DNA evidence that thanks to the advances of science and technology, the Lubbock Texas police department was finally able to bring her killer to trial and conviction. 23 years later, many Eliza Stratton Elkins was born in 1895 and she was a well-liked member of the Overton community in Lubbock, where she lived at 1916, sixth street. Everyone thought of her as grandma, while researching this case, I saw several pictures of her and she looked like just a kind soul. And she was incredibly beautiful in her younger years. Many has been Elmer had passed away March 23rd, 1957. Many was a farm wife who make, when her husband passed away, she did not drive.

(2m 6s):
And when of her granddaughters would take her wherever she needed to go. She was a very meticulous housekeeper. I kept a very tidy home. She was described as quiet, friendly, and kept to herself. Her neighbors referred to her as spritely, and she was often seen out working in her yard and flower beds. Many’s daughter lived in a community outside of Lubbock and would come to town to have lunch with her mother. Once a week, many was last seen alive Wednesday, June 28, 1989. She had had lunch with her daughter earlier that day after family members have been unable to reach many by phone. Her daughter, Gladys came to Lubbock to check on her mother. Gladys discovered her. Mother’s almost nude body lying in the bed.

(2m 47s):
The body showed signs of a severe beating to her face and head with blood pooled underneath her and blood splatter on the wall at the head of the bed Minnie’s body was nude except for her Kathleen hosiery on her. Her nightgown was off of her body line, mostly underneath her with her left arm. Still through the sleeve. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they discovered signs of forced entry at the back door, which stood up and the screen door had been PED. They also found a dish with food scraps and it’s sitting on a dresser in the bedroom. The tops of several jewelry boxes were opened and the bathroom toilet seat was up with urine and the toilet Ball, these conditions were Not consistent with the normally clean home that many was known to keep several items were also found missing, including many’s purse, her wedding green, two strands of pearls, a broach and a lapel pin also discovered missing where several packages of meat wrapped in butcher paper from the freezer for an assistant police, chief Thomas, as far as I from the Lubbock police department stated to the media at the time she was severely beaten about the face and head.

(3m 53s):
We feel like maybe robbery was the motive. There were some items, jewelry items, and maybe a purse that have never been accounted for now during the investigation, detectives bundled the bedsheets and other bedding and delivered them along with other evidence to the Texas department of public safety crime lab in Lubbock. At the time of the submission to the lab, Jim Thomas, then a laboratory supervisor examined the evidence submitted and found on the bedding. Several hairs that appear to be pubic hairs as their investigation continued police considered approximately 37 potential suspects, no fingerprints at the scene matched any of the suspects. None of the additional evidence recovered led to the confirmation and the involvement of any of the potential suspects periodic review.

(4m 39s):
The case continued over the following years, but no hard evidence led police to the killer at various intervals. Through the years, additional lab tests were performed on items collected at the murder scene, but the case crew called that then several years later, a new boot homicide detective was asked to take a look at the mini Elkins case, his fresh eyes and dogged persistence. We’re going to turn this case upside down. Recently, I sat down with Zach Johnson and deliberate police department. Detective Johnson was that green homicide detective that brought this case to closure, detective Johnson. And I agreed to meet at a Starbucks near Texas tech university. Neither of us were aware that the inside seating was not available at the time due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

(5m 21s):
And I know that we’re all just over Covid. At this point, we had hoped for a quiet public place to talk about the case uninterrupted. Instead, we had to settle for the opposite, which was a crowded Starbucks patio alongside a busy major street during afternoon Lubbock traffic. I’ve tried to edit out the street noise and clean up audio as much as possible in the interview audio while still including the many aspects of the case that detective Johnson provided and leaving the Twain and Lil spend lackadaisical pauses that as West Texans are known for. So for that, please excuse the quality of the audio lesson learned. And I promise to do better. Next time. I have to say that, listen to detective Dotson, tell the story of this case from his standpoint was literally enthralling.

(6m 4s):
He remembered every single detail and tells it with exuberance and excitement. He was leaving you feeling as if you were right along with him for each step of the investigation. Before we get to his interview, I wanted to point out that while researching this case, I found the irony that we chose to meet where we did the old sixth street that many Elkins have lived on was later renamed to Mac Davis lane in honor, of the famed Lubbock music icon, Mac Davis. The Starbucks we met at was on the corner of Mac Davis lane and university Avenue. So let’s get right down to it. And now we’ll hear from detective Johnson, Minnie Elkins was 93 years old. She lived where Walmart is.

(6m 44s):
Okay. So it’s just over here to the East, the Southeast on sixth street. It was 1916, sixth street. Okay. She lived there almost her entire life. As a matter of fact, her and her husband lived across the street from buddy Holly when he was growing up. So that’s how long she’d been in the neighborhood. And she’d been in the neighborhood long enough to see it go down heel into the Overton that it became for all the drugs and the shooting and the prostitution and the crime. And that’s the Overton that we’re talking about. We’re talking about her case. That’s the old that she died in basically. Well, I read somewhere that it was over 10 projects.

(7m 28s):
Yes. Like, yes, they had a whole bunch of apartment complexes there that were negative housing crack house. The houses did all gone down know because they’d all been built in the thirties and forties. Right. And so now they’re trapped out some dope houses. So why did it turn that way? I think it was because the way Lubbock grew Lubbock started centrally and then all the money went out to the South and to the West. And so all of your money started in central other like down here by Texas tech world and the tech, Kerry, Syria, and all that money just kind of got up and literally moved.

(8m 9s):
And I think maybe some of the, the big medical businesses and all of the medical technology and the hospitals becoming what they became, people were living further away from the center of town, because there were more opportunities out in the South part of town in the West part of town. It’s like everything kind of migrated away from that area and it kind of left it cheap. We can also have the tornado back in seventies that ripped all that area apart. They ripped downtown apart and part of the over two neighborhood apart. So I think there were a lot of factors that came into play to that kind of conspired to put that into what happens.

(8m 52s):
When did you come on the case? I got it in November 10th, 2010. And it was pretty cold. Yes. It was ice cold when I got it. So what did you think whenever you looked at it? What was the first thing? Well, I thought it was pretty horrendous because she was 93. She’d been beaten to death in her bed and it was a capital murder. The man that had committed the murder had stolen from her house. He stole her dogs and it was a burglary and a murder, hot dogs, hot dogs and meat. Yeah. It was meeting on dogs in a refrigerator and he also ate her dinner that she had left out on the table. So do you ever seen anything like that whenever you got that case? Not as a case, no, because this was the first murder out of her worked up until then.

(9m 33s):
I was working on fraud, fraud cases and property crime cases I had put in for homicide and got accepted. And then a couple of days later, they called me into the sergeant’s office and said here that we want you to look at this case. It’s gold, check it out. There’s the no pressure. Cause it’s cold. And I was like, okay. And they’re like read it. So you should think about it. If there’s anything that you think that you can do take off with it, let us know, keep us in the loop, you know? And I was like, okay, cool. It’s the first thing that sit out to The crime scene. The photos really stood out to me because she had been beaten. So you really hadn’t seen anything like that? No. No, not a mock new screen. How long had you, how long had you been At that time? I’d been on about four Years.

(10m 14s):
So you’re still a little green. Oh yeah. Pretty green, but not fresh out of the Academy. Right? Take me through you get the case fall kind of walk me through what happened. So it was a pretty extensive case hall because it was so old. Right. And they had been working it as Lee would come in as new detectives and get it, they’d do some work on it, but he would always run into a dead end, you know, just because there was nothing there to run with. So I went through the entire case and read it from cover to cover because I knew I didn’t want to read it and they stop and say, okay, I want to look at this. I’m wanting to read the whole thing. So I could have an objective view on it and hopefully make some good investigation decisions on it.

(10m 56s):
So I read the whole thing. And then I went over all of the crime scene photos. And then I talked to some guys about the case that had worked on it before me and got their opinions on it, what they were thinking when they had. But what was their train of thought? Where did they think this thing was leading to? And what did they think? What did they think There was? In the very beginning, the guys had dealt with a suspect admitted to the murder, but he was mentally, mentally challenged. He was somebody from the neighborhood. He was in the neighborhood. He was well-known in the Overton neighborhood as being mentally challenged and being out there so to speak. And when they made first contact with him, he was dragging a dead dog behind him on a leash.

(11m 40s):
So they were like, Holy crap. You know, what is, what is this guy’s deal? So they interviewed him and talked to him at length and they figured out, well, this guy has Real, no knowledge of this crime. Did, did he just say a, he did. It was, I killed the old lady. Well, how’d you do it? Well, I stamped it. And they knew that she had not been as happy and well on broken laundry, breaking them because she owed me money. Oh, you know, 900 year old is an old people money. So that lead kind of fizzled out pretty quickly. After that, there was a statement that had been taken during the original canvas, from a lady that lived in the apartments that were right across the alley from Minnie’s house.

(12m 25s):
Okay. She said that on the night of the murder, she’d actually seen some of her family members exiting the house. Her family members are minis. And her, the lady is the witness. I saw this, this man, one of my family members that I’m definitely afraid of because he doesn’t care. He’ll do anything to anybody. He does not care. And he was coming out of the house and he was covered in blood. He had blood on his pants. He was carrying a crowbar and it was covered in blood. And if the next thing that I know is they’re inviting me over to have dinner. And that made no sense to me because earlier in the day, they were coming over to my house asking for money because they couldn’t eat.

(13m 8s):
And now they’re inviting me for dinner. And they had, I guess they got food. And so she gives this pretty compelling statement, but she refused to sign the thing. And she told the investigator who took the statement at the time, if you’re able to get him on this case, I’ll sign it. As long as I know that I’m not in any danger, but as far right now, I’m not signing this. So that was pretty compelling to me because a lot of the stuff that she had said massive crime scene and match facts about the case. So I went, I talked to the investigator that took that report that worked the case and actually worked that lead.

(13m 51s):
And he was like, yeah, he said, this is what we did. We followed up on that lead. We interviewed a couple of other guys that were supposed to have been with him that night and they wouldn’t come out and say that they did, but they broke down and they were crying and they were right on the precipice of giving a profession and we just couldn’t get it. So if there’s anything that lead is good, you could do something with that. And that two 95 investigators obtained a statement from a neighbor of minis that I’m going to refer to as Ms. Jacobson, her statements implicated a neighbor and relative of hers that I will refer to as Travis. She has also mentioned Travis’s friend that I will refer to, is can it being possibly involved?

(14m 32s):
Also many neighbors had reported hearing and seeing something out of the ordinary in their neighborhood, the night of Minnie’s murder, according to assistant cheapest, the two individuals, both black males wearing dark clothing that were seen in the area about the time the homicide occurred. Police, however, were never able to find these two, the phrase black men is a direct media quote and not intended to be culturally insensitive Because this is scale. There’s just a whole other, no, this is a whole other league. So I looked at that and read the statement. I was like, man, that is pretty compelling. I started to looking at the guys that had been identified through that lead. I pulled all their criminal histories, notice the woman’s in .

(15m 15s):
The other one was out in lover, walking around and they did have violent criminal history. So there was something I could get ahold of there. You know, there wasn’t anything to take to the bank yet, but there was something there that was intriguing about that. So I figured, well, I need to, I need to follow up on this. I need to do something. So the decision was made that I would go to the penitentiary and talk to one of the guys who was in TDC. Yeah. He was in KTC. Well, before Friday, I talked to him, I’d gone out and ran and went to his address where he had lived and actually talked to some of his fans and asked them about if they remembered this case.

(15m 56s):
If they remember him making any statements about this or that. And they said, no, you know, we don’t, we don’t remember the case. We don’t really remember. We don’t think that he would have done something because he wasn’t exceptionally violent. He just liked going and breaking into people’s homes and them. But he did hang around with some really violent people. And we tried to get him not to do that. He would listen to us. He was always doing stupid shit like that. And he was hooked on heroin at the time. So that, that played into a lot of his decision-making. Okay. Well, anyway, I get that information to get a good background on it. Me and another investigator that had personal experience with this guy, we went together down to TDC, down to Huntsville.

(16m 39s):
Okay. Cause this guy was a very brotherhood gang. He was really high up in the hierarchy of yes. And so he was on a lockdown solitary unit. So we went out to talk to him and here I am, I’ve been in the murder game for maybe a year. And here’s this guy that I’ve talked to has been in the criminal game for four years. And he knew exactly who I was when I walked in and I walked in and I did, it was, I walked in and I sat down and he said, Hey, he, that detective that’s been talking about family. And I’m like, yeah, what are you talking about?

(17m 23s):
Well, you’ve been talking about things. They told me that some detective went out there, talk to my family about some murder cases that why you’re hearing about that old lady that got killed. Yeah. That’s why I’m here. So the reason that I’m here is that apparently when you were interviewed by the police so years ago about it, it really bothered you to the point that you wrote down and you were crying. Is that fair to say that yeah. That what happened to her horrible. So I’m thinking, man, this where we’re at a pretty good spot with this guy. This could be, the linchpins are all case and we need to do this the right way. And maybe we’ll get some good information.

(18m 4s):
So start interviewing him and talking to him. Well, he didn’t have any information on the murder itself. His explanation for the crime and for the emotional attachment to the murder was because it was a 93 year old lady. And it had bothered him to the point that he could not believe somebody would be that horrendous in that horrible to a 93 year old woman, especially in her sleep. So even skinheads, right? Yes. Yeah. He’s, there’s an honor code there, you know, different criminals that have different honor codes, you know? So I was like, okay. So we got through interviewing him, we served the DNA warrant on him and obtained his DNA.

(18m 46s):
Does he still think at that point that he was involved or are you kind of, I was kind of up in the air on it because there was the other part of the statement where the guy’s work. And he had told me that, yeah, I did hang around those guys. They were fine with it, you know, and, and, and made a reference to several incidents that he was present for where they had been very violent towards with weapons. Like the pro-ball. So I knew that maybe he wasn’t going to tell us anything, but we had his DNA at least. And so we had his DNA and it was there. He was going to show up. So I was feeling pretty confident at that time.

(19m 27s):
You know, let him talk to me if he wants to lie to me, that’s fine. Because in the end, if the DNA is in that house, I’m going to find it. And then I’m going to have to come back to him and tell him, Hey man, you told me X, Y, and Z. I now know for a matter of a fact that you were in there, you know, I need to explain yourself. So I didn’t feel that it was a total waste of time. I felt good that we did get him on the record. Currently we had his current statement and we had his Dean and we did get some good information, additional information about these other guys that were involved. So we come back to Lubbock. I met with the scientist that was assigned to the case to have worked the DNA in that.

(20m 11s):
And we went through all of the evidence in the case and he said, okay, well, you know, these evidence samples, let’s take them. I’ll take those to the lab and look at them, DPS DPS, and see if there’s anything that I can work with that may yield some DNA. You know what no. It’s like, okay, cool. Well, one of those samples was a pubic hair that was recovered within the blood and the sheets of the victims In late 2003, the Texas department of public safety crime lab tested the hairs, recovered from Minnie’s bed, linens analysis, confirmed the hairs to Be pubic hairs and determined that they did not belong to many.

(20m 52s):
And that’s crazy to me. I mean, if that would happen now. Yeah. I could see somebody recovering it, but it seemed like even though it wasn’t that long ago, you know, it was long ago, but not that long ago, it just seems like it would have, I don’t know. Maybe they’re not seem like they would have been as thorough. Right? Right. Well, they, they collected all of the sheets and it was in the sheets when they collected. So they went through the sheets and gathered evidence and then submitted that. And fortunately for me, obviously it contained a DNA profile. So, but after all these years it was so good. It was still good. Yes. Yeah. So we had the statement from the lady. We had the current statement of the guy in the penitentiary, but we hated to support that statement.

(21m 36s):
So we had to get this lady signed the state. She had to be able to tell us, yes, this is the truth. This is what I saw. And after all these years, I’m going to sign this, you know, so me and another detective go out here to Roseville where she lives and talked to her and told her what, what we were doing there and what was her demeanor. And then she was still scared. 22 years later, she was still scared. But the guy of guy. Yeah. But she was like, you know what? She says, it’s been too long. This lady needs justice. If there’s anything I can do, I’m going to do it. Okay. Well then back out and tell me what happened that night.

(22m 17s):
What did you say? You know? And she told us, and it was exactly what was in her statement. The only feel pretty good about it. I did the only difference about the statement that we got and the one that she’d given was she gives us the statement. And then she said, and I’m like, okay. So is there anything else that you can remember? That’s important thing that you want to include in your statement before we sign off on it, call it good. She says, yeah. She says, you know what? For some reason I remember a Hispanic guy with them that night, his name rain. And I don’t know why that stands out, but I know them.

(22m 60s):
And, and w that needs to go in that state, because I know that that was like, okay, cool. So we get all that. And her statement, she signs it, we’re driving back to Levin. And I looked at the investigator that was with me, and I said, man, wouldn’t it be crazy if we’re doing all this DNA work and it comes back to some Hispanic dude name, wouldn’t that be crazy? He was like, yeah, that would be pretty wild, man. So what did y’all think about her adding that all these Years later? I didn’t know what to think, because that was all new to me Because when people remember things packed and forget things, right. I know sometimes I witness witness statements or people remembering things aren’t always right. Not always the best, so that’s.

(23m 41s):
Yeah. Right, right. Yeah. And so that was, that was new. It was all new to me. And so I figured, well, I’ll just rock with this. See what happens. I mean, statements where she told me, it’s either going to be good, or it’s going to come up to Neil and we’re not going to be any worse off than we already are. Right. So I was like, okay, cool. So she saw, did we go back to the PD? Mrs. Jacobson provided a second statement to police in 2011. She later told the jury during testimony that she did not give a statement until 1995, because she was quote unquote, worried about retaliation. She stated that on the day of the murder, she saw Travis and his apartment, which his apartment was located on the property next door to Minnie’s home with what she assumed was blood on his hands.

(24m 28s):
She also stated that Travis had what she thought was a crowbar that had blood on it. Also in her statement, she said that she saw a purse and some meat and Travis’s apartment. She recalled that the young lady who lived with Travis at the time did not carry a purse. And describe the purse she saw as quote unquote, a big purse. It just wasn’t a little young lady’s purse. It was a big purse. Mrs. Jacobson stated to investigators that it seemed like an old lady’s purse. Mrs. Jacobson later testified in court that she saw Travis and Kenneth in Minnie’s backyard the day after the murder. And that they appeared to be quote unquote, looking for something. She agreed. It was unusual for them to be a Minnie’s backyard.

(25m 8s):
So she did sign the statement. She did, she signed it. So the case kind of takes a breather for a while because we followed up on everything that we could, and we’re waiting on DPS to do their thing. And, you know, DNA takes a minute. I’m going to go to lens. Yeah. Get back. Exactly. So it was sometime later that I’ve left work and I’m literally I’m down here on the flight or the West loop Marshall shark. And the scientists from DPS from this is that since we just got a code to sit on that DNA sample from your murder case, and I’m like a bunch of expletives, I’m like, really? He was like, yeah, well maybe it was going to be aiming high.

(25m 50s):
I didn’t know who it was. He said it, it came out of California. So when he told me he came out of California, I knew it wasn’t on you. And intentionally I’m like, well, who is it? He was like, well, his name is Reynaldo Ray. And I didn’t know what to say. I was blown away because it all just kinda came down all at once. It kind of hit me all at once. And you’re thinking an April, 2011, the DPS lab generated DNA from a profile, from several items, including the pubic hair that had been previously submitted into evidence. No, this cannot be happening, but it is, this is real.

(26m 30s):
So I was like, and you got it out of California. He was like, yeah, sit. Apparently he’s in California. He did something where they took his DNA and they uploaded it and it hit. So they do it whenever you interested Or you go to prison, like here they do a DNA. No, they’re a little bit more liberal in California. Believe it or not. You get picked up on any felony, any felony, you get DNA. Oh yeah. They buckle swab. Anything. If in Texas you get picked up on a felony warrant. It doesn’t matter. They’re not going to take your DNA. Right. We only get DNA pursuant to a search warrant. Whereas in California, it’s pursuant to process.

(27m 10s):
Yeah. Oh yeah. Wouldn’t that be great. If right. So we start running. I called Doug Sutton, who was the chief of investigations at the loving Sheriff’s office. Just keeping the one that had been working the lead on our guy in prison. When he had the case, SWAT, I’ve been staying in touch with him about what we’ve been learning. And so I called him and I said, Hey, Doug, I know who did this. I know who killed Menil. He was like, well, who is it? And I tell him this cat named Fernando, right, man. So over the next week we started looking into his background. Well, we find out that Ronaldo, he got jammed up on a murder charge back in 83, before this thing ever happened.

(27m 54s):
We were in love. It damn sure did down over here to South point hotel, over a 14 camp. And he went, he committed a murder over there and, or he was alleged to have committed a murder and long story short, he got away with that one, but mine, you know? Yeah. Because he had an attorney that had him plead to a different charge. Gotcha. And the witness in that case, that was the linchpin for the case moved out of the state because she was scared and the prosecution couldn’t locate her. And so between that and the defense attorney, they dropped the entire case. He got very lucky, damn straight.

(28m 34s):
So This name mean anything Neal mean? It y’all know. As you know, with an investigator, anybody who wasn’t on the radar? No, no. He was brand new to the investigation and we found out why is because when we, when we ran his background and we ran his criminal history, we found out that he’d been arrested a week later down the walk on a vehicle burglary charge, which was a felony at that time in 1989, it was a felony. So he got popped on a felony charge. He got arrested and he went to County jail and they ended up going to the penitentiary.

(29m 14s):
So that day after he got arrested, he was never alone. So he basically got picked a winner When penitentiary for rolled up and he booked California. He was gone. So, I mean, within a week of the murder, the guy is in jail, on a wholly, totally unrelated charge and would never surface until we got his DNA. So of course, you know, we briefed the chain command. We’ve got to go to California and we’ve got to interview this guy and we’ve got to get his DNA. Did you have the support of your chain of command? Oh yeah, yeah.

(29m 55s):
Nope, Nope. They were, let’s go get this guy. Right. So we got our plan. We’re going to go get him. We go to the DA’s office, we present the case to a grand jury. We get any dotted. We get a murder warrant for him, the coolest thing. And it still is after me being on 15 years. And after all of the cool things I’ve been able to do at the PDs, this is still the coolest thing that I’ve ever done. Me and this skater, Trey Mayer went with me to California. We went over to Minnie Elkins daughter’s house. We found her, we went over there and we knocked on the door and she lived here. She lived here in Lubbock.

(30m 36s):
Well, her son was staying with her, taking care of her. He answers the door. And I said, yes, sir. I’m detective Johnson, beloved police department. I need to know Gladys cops is here. He was like, well, yeah, what do you want? I’m like, well, sir, I have a warrant here for the arrest of a man named Renaldo Ray for the murder of her mother. And that guy was just like, Oh my God. He’s like, please come in, please come in. Yeah. I’m so sorry. You know, please come in. We’re like, I understand. No worries. So we walk in and he’s like, mom, these guys are from the police department. And they’ve got some exciting news to give us, you know, what it was before he had no clue.

(31m 20s):
And so we told her, I said, Ms. Cox, this year is a piece of paper and she’s elderly. She’s very elderly. Yeah. And I said, this piece of paper right here is the warrant. And I’m going to go arrest the man. They killed your mother because Gladys said, found her. She made the discovery of the body and called the floor. All right. So we sat and we tell her this Odyssey that we’ve been on about how, what we did and all of these things. And we get to, to get us to that. So that was the coolest thing I’ve ever done because the cop, that was the coolest thing A warrant was issued for Rinaldo Ray, who had not been assessed back up until now.

(32m 1s):
Was it gratifying? Yes. Satisfying. Yeah. Yeah. It was really neat. It was really cool. So we have the warrant in hand, jump on a plane and we fly out to Cal and this guy’s clueless. Oh, he has no idea. I mean, he’s out in California, fat, dumb and happy has no idea. According to him, he got away with murder and no one knows the wiser. Yeah, exactly. So we meet with the investigators at Madeira, California, where this guy lives and they’re like, yeah, like weekend, we’ll go. And we’ll tell him some bogus story about a, that we’ve done on him and bringing him down to the police department.

(32m 43s):
And then you guys can talk to them. So he wasn’t in prison or anything like that. He was leaving. He was taking care of his mom, living his best life, living his best life. Damn. Right. So we go out, out there with them and we kind of hang back while their arrests guys go. And they had some SWAT guys that went with them and they confronted him at the house. No problem. He went very willingly course. He does know we got a murder one. So his arrest, he was like, I’m very Low key affair. He, but then there was a lot of manpower there. SWAT was there. Yeah.

(33m 23s):
Yeah. It turned into a taskforce. Yeah. It could have been major, but it was very low key. So we bring him into the PD. Try not to start talking. Ray was arrested in early may, 2011 in Madera, California, a city, 20 miles North of Fresno, where he had been living through additional investigation. Police learned that Ray had lived two blocks from many’s home at the time of her death, which is demeanor. He’s very calm, very calm, very quiet. Very quiet unbothered. Nope. No big deal to him. This is no walk in the park to him. Of course. He doesn’t know why we’re there.

(34m 4s):
So we’re saying, Hey said, Hey, y’all, we’re part of the California. No, we told him immediately. We were from loving and it, no, I, I told him, I said, Hey, he was like, no, call me Tony. I said, okay, Tony, I’m detective Johnson with the Lubbock police department in Lubbock, Texas. Do you remember that place? Yeah. Well, have you ever been to 1916, sixth street in your entire life? You ever been to that house? No, not that I remember. We spent a long time stuff in Texas. Okay. Well that’s fair. I said, do you know an elderly lady by the name of Minnie Elkins? Probably in her nineties. Well, I really don’t know anything.

(34m 46s):
Okay. Well, the reason that we’re here is we have an arrest warrant for murder for you because your DNA is in her bed where she had been bludgeoned to beat to death in her house in 1966 street in Lubbock, Texas. Do you have anything that you can offer us right now about that case? No, not really. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I, I, I really don’t remember. Okay. So we knew that we better take in cause we’re going to be here a while. Right. Do you think that he really, at that time, did you think you really didn’t remember? Do you think he was that good? Yeah. I think he was that good and not necessarily that good.

(35m 26s):
I think he was a sociopath and I think it doesn’t bother us. Right. So we start talking to him and we talked to the man for like five hours and we, every card in the book, nothing, he was totally chill. As a matter of fact, he was like, guys, can I have a cigarette? We’re like, yeah, we’ll give you a cigarette. Maybe, you know, maybe he’s going to give us some insight into this part. So we take him outside. He starts telling us jokes, telling us jokes and joking around with us. So we’re joking around with him, you know? So we do all this stuff. We’re getting back in There thinking you’re trying to get out of or with it. Yeah. And I’m thinking the man’s telling us jokes. He’s so relaxed.

(36m 7s):
We’ve got some kind of rapport. I didn’t know what we had, but we had something there. And so I’m thinking that he’s going to give us something like maybe he was a plumber at one time and went to the house. Right. But he didn’t do the murder or maybe he knew he in fact was there and he was going to tell us, yeah, I was there with the guy in the penitentiary with this other guy and they did the program and I was, you know, I was trying to stop them. You know, something, not that nothing. Zero. No. I mean, we thrown so many bones. He wouldn’t take any, I mean, any thing, so five hours into it, you know, he finally says, I just, I want to talk to my car.

(36m 54s):
I’m done. Okay, cool. So we have more than what we need. I mean, we’ve got a DNA sample. We know he was in the house and he’s been lying to us for five hours about how he wasn’t there. We’ve given him a million opportunities to say that he was there, but to not involve himself in it. And he still won’t do it. So How confident were y’all at that time? Like you have DNA, but you don’t have anything else from it. Right? Like how confident were you in the case being strong enough for prosecution? I was very confident because the matter of the DNA was that it was mixed in her blood.

(37m 39s):
It wasn’t like there was some cube on the toilet seat where he may have Was in the murder scene. I mean, up in it with her in the bed where she was beat to death. So I knew that that was locked stock. Good to rock right there. We good on it. And the fact that he was going to lie after years, 22 years. And he still wasn’t going to confess. I mean, it obviously wasn’t eating him up or anything. No like that. No, no. Didn’t bother him. So I go with him to the County jail to getting booked in at their County jail. So I’m in the car with them, I’m in the back seat and I’m like, well, I’m going to ask him about that other murder case.

(38m 25s):
I wonder if he remembers that. So I asked, I said, Tony, you remember this other one you got jammed up on over 1983 over at the South Plains and or whatever it’s called. He was like, Oh yeah, I remember that. I like you dude. Yeah. Says that lady. She was lying on me. I like, yeah. Yeah. And this, and he tells me her name and he weren’t talking almost 30 years later, he remembers this lady says, well, the guy that he murdered or the, that he was alleged to have had a very unique name, unique Spanish last name. It was really a rare name. Well, he tells me the man’s name and then spell it for him.

(39m 9s):
And so I’m thinking, dude, I’ve got the man’s DNA. We get back to Lubbock, I’m born into the murder files and I’m pulling that evidence and I’m going to run it against his DNA. And maybe we could get another murder. We, we get him, get him to County. We come back to love it. So it hits the media and everything. You made this arrest on this old case or whatever. And so all these other agencies start calling us and they’re wanting permission to run their evidence against our DNA profile because they have cold cases as well. And, and some of those Emo’s match RMO. And I was like, whatever guys that solves a murder, be my guest, go there.

(39m 52s):
You’re thinking maybe. Right. So I start looking into this murder from 83 because I’m fairly convinced that he’s good for it. Well, come to find out when the man took the plea deal on the vehicle burglary, which was a felony at the time I dropped the murder case. And when they dropped the murder case, they got rid of the evidence. Oh my goodness. So there was no way for us to comment nowadays, no murder evidence States, but back in the eighties, that’s the way they did it. So that’s what happened with that.

(40m 32s):
So we were never able to prove any of that murder against him. So we ended up, Oh, and while we were in California’s right. We had teens here on love it, that we’re following those other guys that have been identified by our witnesses, being there at the scene of the night of the crime. And they, they yanked them up and brought them in for interviews and took their DNA. And then we compare that against the DNA at the scene. And it was only him, those other guys, their DNA wasn’t here. Where are they there? I might be getting ahead of myself.

(41m 13s):
Well, there was no way for me to prove that they were and they never confessed. And they brought that out. You know, I guess like nobody testified against him. Right? Yeah. And just like you said, they brought them in, they put them on the stand. They didn’t testify as to anything. They had no knowledge of it. Nothing. And I couldn’t put in there. So, you know, there’s no word or choice whether or not they were there that’s that’s between them and God. Right. But we don’t, Tony was there. So you bring him back on a plane or no, drive him. Or he got bust real courtesy of the state of Texas, which pissed him off because they busted him from California all the way through the Southwest.

(41m 59s):
So he was basically like on a chain bed, he was on a chain bus. And then when he got to Lubbock County, they gave him a bill for the bus ride and he was mad to tell him about that’s awesome. Yeah. He was mad as hell about it. Ray was indicted in July, 2012 for capital murder, the state accusing him of quote unquote, intentionally or knowingly causing the death of many Elkins on or about June 28, 1989. By striking her with a hard object, unknown to the grand jury during the course of committing burglary of a habitation without the effective consent of the owner, many Elkins, he pled not guilty.

(42m 40s):
So you testify, present the evidence and everything in child. Right. And how did you feel when the guilty verdict came back? Oh, I was ecstatic. I thought that was the greatest thing ever. Ray did not testify at trial, but presented the testimony of Mrs. Jacobson who testified in a manner generally consistent with her 1995 and 2011 statements during the child, the DNA analysts from the Texas department of public safety crime lab testified that he compared DNA taken from two pubic hairs from the DNA obtained from a bugle swab of raised mouth taken after his arrest. The analyst told the jury that the DNA taken from both hairs was consistent with Ray’s DNA.

(43m 22s):
He testified that given the matches on particular points, the probability of selecting an unrelated person at random, who could be a contributor to this DNA profile is approximately one and 29.5 billion for Caucasians one in 1.9, four, 1 billion for African-Americans and one in 551.9 million for Hispanics, many Chevys and Kenneth were excluded as contributors to this DNA profile. The analyst also testified that he found DNA material in one stain from the pillow from Minnie’s bed and also in a similar stain on a piece of Minnie’s nightgown that was retained in evidence.

(44m 6s):
He determined the DNA that the profile of Rinaldo Ray, the analyst also testified that because the stain was from a single source profile, other potential suspects were excluded as the contributors of the DNA material found in the stains. The DNA taken from the pubic hair found in minis bedding combined with that from the stains on her nightgown and bed pillow allowed the jury a strong inference that Ray was present in the bed with her. The child testimony does not describe the sources of the DNA stains, but from their descriptions in the trial transcripts, it appears that they were not bloodstains. Ray was convicted of capital murder. And as mandated by Texas law was sentenced to life in prison and the Texas department of criminal justice.

(44m 50s):
Why did they only give him life? Because in 1989 to get Finley had been revoked in Texas. I looked at Rinaldo Ray’s current present inmate record and saw that he is eligible for parole. And if you short years, The vehicle burglary, burglary of a building and Terrant County, and then Capitol murder, other felony level, I was doing a live you’re going to be eligible for parole in 2020. Yeah. He becomes eligible for parole. Have you, Do you have a family or anything? How do they, how do they, it, They’re going to be there. They’re going before the parole board.

(45m 30s):
They’re going to be there. And I have every intention on going and talking to the full board. I mean, I don’t see why you would be released Lubbock County prosecutor. I’ll set disgrace, medical examiner, Ralph Erdman. Yes. 1989 autopsy of many Elkins wouldn’t impede the Rinaldo Ray child. Yeah. Well researching the case, I discovered information about the medical examiner, Ralph Erdman. I found an article which quoted Matt Powell from the district attorney’s office stating that the Erdmann situation would not have any bearing on the mini Elkins case relating to the autopsy that Erdmann performed on many Briefly. What was that about?

(46m 10s):
Like what, what happened with the Erdman? I think he’s passed away by now, but he was the medical examiner here in Lubbock County and he would not perform complete autopsies. He would weigh things on average weights and do all kinds of stuff on downs. Yeah. And then he was keeping body parts in his personal refrigerator and freezer. Hey. Yeah. So that’s just a very small insight into that. There’s a whole, there was a book that was written about that, man. I read it. It’s a great book. I don’t remember the name of that book, but it was it’s about the trial and, and all the stuff surrounding urban and that whole big deal that happened.

(46m 58s):
The Erdmann misconduct is an entirely different rabbit hole that perhaps we can go down on a future episode. What other than the pubic hair, what other evidence was there? We found more of his DNA mixed in her blood she’s sexually assaulted. There was no rape kit On October 29th, 2014, Rinaldo Ray filed an appeal with the Texas court of criminal appeals in Amarillo. He challenged the authenticity of the DNA and contested the chain of custody on the DNA evidence collected at the crime scene. The appeals court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. I showed a copy of the appellate brief to detective Johnson. He has appeal. I didn’t know that he did an appeal.

(47m 39s):
Yeah, he did. He did. I’m assuming that they upheld the conviction there. Yes. Yes. October, 2014. Nobody even told me that you’re in here. I am. You know, what’s funny about that is I was in the witness room waiting to go testify on the Dr. Sonya case and we want a break or something. So I’m just hanging out. His attorney sees me in there and he was like, Hey Zach, what’s going on? I’m like, well, I’m waiting to testify in the Sonya trial. He’s like, Oh, he said, well, and, and I didn’t believe him, but obviously he was telling me the truth. He was like, well, yeah, you know, that’s on appeal. And I’m like, what’s on appeal. He’s like, well, Tony’s case is on appeal.

(48m 20s):
And I’m like, really? He’s like, yeah, they’re easy appealing the DNA evidence on it. I’ll actually give this to you if you want this. The second case that I’ve had that went to the appeals court. Wow. Thanks. And this concludes our first episode of season one. This was a very interesting case to dive into. And the Lubbock area has many more, which we will explore in future episodes. Information for this episode is obtained from Casey BD news, channel 11, the Lubbock avalanche journal, K FYO Newstalk, the Amarillo globe news, the Texas court of criminal appeals, the Texas department of criminal justice, the Lubbock police department homicide and the in person interviewed detective Zack Johnson.

(49m 7s):
I thank you to everyone who contributed. Please join us for our next episode. Stay tuned. We will be ten eight in service in Lubbock, Texas, the hub city. Thanks again for listening to true crime by Indy drop in. If you would like your show featured, reach out to us at Indy Drop-In on all social media or go to https://indiedropin.com. See you next time.

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