Major Eugene Stephens
Major Eugene Stephens
DNA evidence led to charges in a two-year-old armed robbery case. Police obtained a warrant for the suspect's arrest, who is currently being held at Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham.
The robbery occurred in September 2013 at the La Quinta Inn on Riverchase Parkway. Two women were held up at gunpoint as they entered their hotel room, and an unknown suspect forced his way into their room.
He reportedly ordered the victims to lie on the floor and drank out of a bottle of vodka on the nightstand. When one of the women tried to shove him out of the room, he struck both women in the head with his gun and fled the scene.
Crime scene detectives collected a DNA sample from the bottle, which was submitted to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. At the time, there was no match in the national Combined DNA Index System database.
Last week, however, detectives were notified the sample matched a suspect whose DNA was recently added to the database.
“Criminals tend to be more aware now that DNA is used by police to link them to crime scenes, and this has made them careful about what they touch,” said Lt. Norman McDuffey, Investigations Division commander at Hoover PD. “However, our crime scene detectives are trained in the latest techniques available to process crime scenes for evidence. With their hard work and the continual advances in DNA science, DNA profiling will remain a powerful crime fighting tool for law enforcement.”
The suspect was identified as Major Eugene Stephens, 26, of Birmingham. A warrant for first degree robbery was taken out, and bond is set at $60,000. The warrant will be served at Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, where Stephens is on an unrelated robbery from earlier this summer.
Stephens’ DNA has also been linked to crimes in Homewood and New Orleans, where the respective agencies are investigating.
Although a few years have passed since the crime occurred, McDuffey said it remains rewarding to bring closure to the victims in this case.
“It can be frustrating for the investigators and the victims of crime when time passes with few leads and no resolution, but it is extremely rewarding when we are able to bring closure for them,” he said. “Our victims express to us a great sense of relief when we can tell them the offender has been identified and arrested, even if several years have passed since the crime occurred.”