As a teenager, Robert Hathaway raped and murdered his friend's mother in the summer of 1983 and got away with it all these years. Finally, a routine check of a fingerprint database in January of this year sent police to his door in Fairfield, California, to get a DNA sample, and Hathaway knew he was sunk. He hanged himself last month, alluding to the murder of Priscilla Strole in his note and writing that he was taking the "coward way out," reports the San Francisco Chronicle. After his suicide, police announced that his DNA sample matched evidence found at the crime scene.
Hathaway wasn't a suspect initially because he had no police record at age 17 and thus his prints weren't in the system, explains TheReporter. But a burglary arrest three years later changed that, though it took decades for police to catch up with him. Hathaway had been friends with Strole's 15-year-old son, who returned from a night out to find his mother's body in the kitchen.