Neighbor Arrested 40 Years After Calif. Woman's Murder

Philip Wilson, 71, identified via familial DNA, accused of killing 20-year-old Robin Brooks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
Neighbor Arrested 40 Years After Calif. Woman's Murder
Philip Wilson.   (Sacramentro County Jail)

Since 1980, Maria Arrick has hoped her sister's killer would be caught. A day before the 40th anniversary of Robin Brooks' rape and murder, police in Sacramento, Calif., apparently found their man. Brooks' 71-year-old former neighbor, Philip Wilson, was arrested at his Sacramento home on Thursday and charged with murder with the special circumstance allegation of rape. Accused of raping and stabbing 20-year-old Brooks in her Sacramento apartment in 1980, Wilson—described as 6'4" and 300 pounds—had "never come up in the investigation" until he was identified via familial DNA, cold case investigator Michaela Links tells People. Police had approached ancestry-tracing companies after blood at the scene—the result of an apparent cut—failed to match DNA entries in a database of arrested people, per KXTV.

Brooks, a native of New York state, had only been living at the apartment for just over a month before she was murdered. On the night she was last seen alive, she left her job at a doughnut shop around the corner from the apartment complex and briefly attended a party before heading home. She was found stabbed to death in her bedroom the next day, April 24, when she failed to show up for work. Links believes Brooks was stalked before she was killed. She'd reportedly told friends that "there was somebody bothering her in her place of business," Arrick tells KXTV. Arrick adds she's "thrilled" with the arrest, per People. "What's a miracle is that DNA. It gives a lot of hope for other people," she says. "I never gave up." Wilson was arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court, where he appeared in a wheelchair. He's next due in court on May 5. (More cold cases stories.)

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