DNA cracks 32 year old cold case in South Carolina; killer now dead too

DNA cracks 32 year old cold case in South Carolina; killer now dead too

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Authorities say DNA has helped them determine the man who killed a neighbor in South Carolina 32 years ago is now dead himself.

Spartanburg Sheriff Chuck Wright says 44-year-old James Larry Smith was attacked and beaten with a hammer in his home in December 1987 and remained in a coma until he died four months later.

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Wright told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg that DNA from the crime scene was recently linked to Smith's neighbor, Roger Switzer. The sheriff says Switzer died of a heart attack in 2008.

Wright says Switzer's death means investigators may never know why he allegedly beat Smith with a hammer.

The sheriff told the newspaper he will release more details at a news conference in a few days.