Court docs: Detectives used DNA, cell phone evidence to identify 2016 murder suspect

Crime

Lawon Browning

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UPDATE:

Lawon Browning has been convicted of the 2016 murder and robbery of Jessie Whitehouse. A sentencing hearing for Browning is set for August 23 at 1:30 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Formal charges have been filed against the suspect in the 2016 murder of Jessie Whitehouse.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Monday that 24-year-old Lawon Browning has been charged with murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, and carrying a handgun without a license.

According to a probable cause affidavit, detectives used DNA, cell phone evidence and witness accounts to identify Browning as the sole suspect in the case.

Whitehouse was found shot to death in her home in the 4300 block of Norwaldo Ave. The 30-year-old’s vehicle was missing from her driveway and later discovered several blocks away.

Jessie Whitehouse

On the evening of the murder, the prosecutor’s office says a witness contacted police and reported observing a man matching the description of Browning exit Whitehouse’s missing vehicle. The man was reportedly seen walking in the direction of a nearby apartment complex where Browning is believed to have lived at the time of the murder.

Authorities say credit cards and other personal belongings of Whitehouse were also located in the same are by the witness.

A search warrant of the victim’s cell phone records revealed Whitehouse dialed a cell phone number associated with Browning in the morning hours prior to the alleged murder, according to the prosecutor’s office. Based on analysis of Whitehouse and Browning’s cell phones, investigators believe both phones were in the vicinity of the victim’s residence on the morning of the murder.

The affidavit says DNA found in Whitehouse’s fingernails matched the DNA profile of Browning.

Browning’s initial hearing is set for May 1.

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