A suspect accused of killing a man 31 years ago by stabbing him to death in Lemon Grove pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
In his first court appearance, Stacy Littleton, 52, of San Diego, was charged with a single count of murder in the death of Cyrus Jefferson.
Littleton was already in custody at the San Diego Central Jail on unrelated charges at the time of his arrest.
Thirty-one years after a man's fatal stabbing in Lemon Grove, homicide detectives arrested a suspect using advanced DNA testing, San Diego County Sheriff's deputies (SDSO) announced Monday.
On Oct. 11 in 1986, just before 7:30 a.m., deputies found the body of Jefferson in a field on the 2500 block of 69th Street in Lemon Grove, according to the SDSO. He had been stabbed to death. The victim was 20-years-old at the time.
The victim's sister, identified as Sidra, told NBC 7 that Jefferson wanted to start a new life when he moved to San Diego.
"He said, 'I am going to go there. I might be a chef,"' said Sidra. "He was the type of person who never met a stranger. He'll pick up a hitchhiker. He was just so nice to people."
Recently, detectives re-evaluated evidence found at the crime scene. Thanks to the advancement of DNA technology, detectives were able to link Littleton to the crime. Deputies obtained a warrant and arrested Littleton shortly after.
Before he was arrested in connection with Jefferson's killing, Littleton was already being held for drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession, on a bail amount of $12,500. Now, with the murder charge, he is also being held on a $1 million bail.