New York Post
DNA link ‘found’ in ’94 murder
An ex-con who did several stints in state prison was charged Monday with murder in the vicious 1994 cold-case slaying of a Harlem mother and her special- needs daughter.
Larry Atkinson, 64, was picked up by the NYPD Bronx Cold Case Squad around 7:30 a.m. in the nearly three-decades-old strangulation deaths of Sarah Roberts, 57, and her 25-year-old daughter, Sharon, police said.
The mom and daughter were found inside their apartment in the Grant Houses public housing complex on Feb. 20, 1994 — but the case remained unsolved until now.
Detectives used DNA evidence from the 28-year-old crime scene to link the slayings to the suspected killer — including from cigarette butts and fingernail clippings, police sources said.
Atkinson was dating a home health care aide who cared for Sharon Roberts, who was developmentally disabled — and he still lives with the woman, lawenforcement sources said.
The aide, Celeste Cornelius, stood by her man on Monday.
“I know he didn’t do it,” she said outside their Harlem apartment. “I don’t want you to misquote me but I know he didn’t do it. I don’t care about the DNA — none of that mess. He didn’t do it.”
Cops found no evidence of forced entry in the sixth-floor apartment after the home attendant made the grisly discovery and called 911, The Post reported at the time.
Sarah Roberts was found on her bed, and her daughter was on the floor with “a woolen stocking wrapped around her neck,” cops said in 1994.
Police said a cassette video recorder and several hundred dollars in cash were stolen.
Atkinson is a career criminal who has been imprisoned on five separate state convictions and has racked up 28 prior arrests, the NYPD said.
His time behind bars dates to 1985, when he was sentenced to two years for assault and was paroled in 1987, state records show.
Atkinson, who also did state time on drug and attempted robbery raps, was last paroled in 2013 after serving another two years on an attempted drug sale conviction, records show.
The accused killer, who is apparently ill with cancer, was taken to a hospital following his arrest. He was treated and released, and was awaiting arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.