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DNA leads to arrest in '82 murder



Published: Sat, January 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man is facing charges of homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, robbery and burglary.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- DNA evidence led police to charge a Las Vegas man in the 1982 strangling of a Monroe County motel owner in a robbery that netted $50, authorities said.

Frederick J. Davis, 42, is awaiting extradition from Las Vegas to Monroe County Prison, authorities said.

Davis is facing charges of homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, robbery and burglary in the death of 60-year-old Gladys E. Steffenhagen.

Steffenhagen, who lived in Mount Pocono during the summer and Doylestown during the winter, owned the Knob Motel Lodge with her husband, Laurence.

Her partially clad body was found by her husband in a motel room on Sept. 14, 1982.

DNA testing performed last month on a hair found on Steffenhagen's pajamas matched blood samples investigators took from Davis, police stated in court documents.

Tracking the suspect

In the fall, troopers tracked Davis to Las Vegas. They had a search warrant from a Nevada judge for blood samples and mouth swabs to conduct the tests.

"The DNA was the final straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak," Monroe County Assistant District Attorney James F. Marsh said Friday.

Police charged Davis' roommate, Mark W. Faler, about a year after Steffenhagen's death. He initially confessed the murder but later said that he only did so because he was afraid of Davis.

Faler, who was 17 at the time of the slaying, was convicted of assault, burglary and theft but cleared of murder. He was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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