Marion man arrested in connection with 25-year-old cold case homicide in Wisconsin

Willie Coleman

MARION, Ind. – Investigators in Wisconsin arrested an Indiana man in connection with a 25-year-old cold case homicide.

Detectives with the Madison Police Department arrested 52-year-old Willie Coleman in Marion, Ind., on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide. Coleman was being held in Marion in an unrelated case.

Coleman is accused of killing 40-year-old Lula Cunnigan, who was found dead on Freeport Road on Nov. 4, 1994. An autopsy showed she’d been strangled and run over by a car.

The case remained unsolved for two decades.

In December 2015, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory learned of DNA evidence linking Coleman to Cunnigan’s death. Since then, detectives have been working with the Dane County Medical Examiners Officer, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, and the Dane County District Attorney’s Office on the case.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, while DNA evidence linked Coleman to the case in 2015, he couldn’t be charged at that time. Detectives still had legwork to do.

During an interview in 2016, Coleman initially told police he didn’t know Cunnigan. When informed of the DNA evidence, Coleman told investigators he may have had sex with her, according to the newspaper.

In 2017, a lab found Coleman’s DNA on several parts of Cunnigan’s body. Coleman was interviewed again in 2018 and said he’d had sex with Cunnigan and had put his hands on her throat.

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