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1977 Gay Homicide Solved


The St. Paul, Minn., police department's cold case unit arrested Richard Hubert Ireland Jr. on Tuesday for the 1977 homicide of Mark Shemukenas.

The crime sent shock waves through the Twin Cities gay bar scene back in 1977. At the time, police suspected that the 30-year-old Shemukenas had met his murderer at one of the local establishments.

After 32 years, the case was finally cracked thanks to a single thumbprint left at the scene of the crime. According to Sgt. Anita Muldoon, the lead investigator, "touch DNA" on a pair of scissors led police to Ireland, reports the Star Tribune.

Ireland, 59, was picked up at a Minneapolis halfway house for individuals being treated for alcohol or drug addiction.

Back in May 1977, it was Shemukenas's landlord who discovered his naked, mutilated body. Shemukenas's hands were tied behind his back, his mouth was taped shut, and a fork had been driven into his chest. The victim had also been castrated and had deep knife wounds in his throat, stomach, and back.

Ireland faces a second-degree murder charge.

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