|For Immediate Release
Case # TBA
April 16, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN CHARGED WITH 1985 COLD CASE
MURDER AFTER BEING LINKED TO CRIME
THROUGH DNA EVIDENCE
SANTA ANA – A 48-year-old man was charged today with a 1985 cold case murder in a Santa Ana apartment after being linked to the crime through DNA. Michael John Illiano was charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Illiano will be held on $1 million bail and an arraignment date is to be determined.
On December 28, 1985, Illiano is accused of going with a friend to the Santa Ana apartment of Gene Carson, 49, a small-time drug dealer. Illiano is accused of stabbing the victim multiple times in a bedroom in the apartment, killing the victim.
On January 3, 1986, several of the victim’s friends went to Carson’s home after not hearing from him for almost a week. Two of Carson’s friends broke into his apartment through a kitchen window and found the murdered victim. The friends called the police, who found and collected physical evidence from the scene.
Police interviewed Illiano in 1986 after witnesses said they had seen him at the victim’s home the night of the murder. The case remained unsolved until March 2008 when Santa Ana Police Department cold case detectives linked Illiano to the murder by testing the physical evidence from the scene using DNA technology that did not exist in 1985.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.