DNA solves 1986 Liberty City strangulation murder, police say

 
 
Rickey Davis mugshot
Rickey Davis mugshot
Courtesy of Miami-Dade Corrections

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Nearly three decades after a woman named Joycelean Burrows was found strangled in a vacant Liberty City lot, her killer has been arrested, police said.

The suspect: Rickey L. Davis, 52, who was booked into jail early Saturday on a charge of first-degree murder.

Miami-Dade police homicide detectives cracked the long-unsolved case after submitting crime-scene evidence for DNA analysis earlier this year, according to a police report. A match came back to Davis, a convicted burglar whose DNA had been entered years earlier in a state law enforcement database.

Police found Burrows, 26, on Jan. 17, 1986, in the vacant lot on Northwest 59th Street and 22nd Avenue. Hers was a little-noticed murder in a particularly bloody year — the 13th of 438 homicides recorded in Dade County.

Homicide detectives suspected Davis even then. But with only tantalizing clues, there was not enough evidence to arrest him.

That day, a witness told police, Davis was seen covered in blood, using a hose to wash blood from the back of his truck. But Davis denied having had any recent contact with Burrows, according to the arrest report.

DNA technology was not available in 1986. The case remained unsolved for decades.

Davis is no stranger to the law, having racked up a slew of arrests over the past two decades, including for robbery, burglary and battery.

His DNA was entered into the state database in 2001, after he was convicted for burglary. He wound up in state prison a decade later, finishing a sentence of more than a year for burglary.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

  • Friends and Neighbors

    Friends and Neighbors: Campaign raises money to feed hungry school children

    Local food banks want to help children who often go hungry get what they need to thrive in school. Community support is needed.

  • Friends and Neighbors

    Florida Mayors join forces to say no to bullies

    Looking back at my growing up days, I can remember how school bullies tried to made life miserable for me and a lot of other youngsters. I remember being followed home one day by a bully who wanted to start a fight. When I kept ignoring her, she soon turned, with her followers and went home. Unlike some of today’s bullies, she didn’t try to hit me. She was just all mouth, spitting out insulting remarks.

  • Crime Watch

    Crime Watch: How to protect your children online

    School will be starting soon and many of you emailed me regarding the social network sites that your kids will be using this year. Nowadays it’s not just the computer at home but also their smartphones. You need to consider blocking your kids’ phones from some of these sites. Check with your telephone carrier to see what programs they have to offer in protecting kids.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category