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Fla. cold case from 1996 solved with beer cans and DNA evidence

A suspect’s drinking habit was his downfall

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By Joseph Wilkinson
New York Daily News

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida man was arrested Tuesday and charged with a brutal 1996 murder where the victim was stabbed 73 times.

Kenneth Stough, 54, is charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon in the death of Terence Paquette.

Paquette was 31 years old when he was found dead Feb. 3, 1996, in the bathroom of the convenience store where he worked in Orlando, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The store had also been relieved of all its cash.

Paquette’s killer’s blood was found all over the store, but for years cops couldn’t find a DNA match. With no suspects and no witnesses, the case went cold.

The Orange County Sheriff first attempted to reopen the case in 2003, but got nowhere. Progress began only when a cold case squad was formed in 2019.

A DNA specialist with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined that the blood at the crime scene came from one of three brothers, according to police.

Cops narrowed that search to focus on Kenneth Stough because he lived across the street from the store in 1996. They tracked him to a parking lot, where he disposed of several empty beer cans. Police said the DNA on Stough’s beer cans matched the DNA from the 1996 crime scene.

Stough had a record of several minor incidents, but no violent crime, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

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