Iowa Inmate Confesses to 1991 Cold-Case Murder, Police Say

Brian Eric Norton Mugshot

Brian Eric Norton

Redding Police investigators gained a murder confession from an Iowa prison inmate for a brutal, two-decades-old killing and sexual assault, Sgt. Al Mellon said today in a press release.

On August 10, 1991, the Redding Police Department investigated a homicide that occurred in a field on the north side of East Cypress Avenue. The 53-year-old victim was identified as Despina Magioudis. The investigation revealed that Magioudis had been sexually assaulted and died as a result of manual strangulation and bludgeoning. The case was aggressively worked for years by Redding Police Investigators as well as the California Department of Justice Crime laboratory, but ultimately went cold.

On December 19, 2001, swabs collected from the victim were tested by the California Department of Justice laboratory. During the testing, DNA was located and uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) for routine searches against profiles from both offenders and other case evidence.

On March 22, 2010, a DNA match was identified between evidence from the victim and a suspect identified as Brian Eric Norton. Norton was serving a prison sentence in Iowa associated with a sexual assault and provided a DNA sample after his conviction. In June, 2010 a team of Redding Police Investigators as well as a representative from the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office flew to Iowa to investigate Norton as the homicide suspect.

On August 10, 2010, a warrant was issued charging Brian Eric Norton with the murder of Despina Magioudis. Norton fought extradition from Iowa, but was ultimately transported to Sacramento by the U.S. Marshall’s office. On July 14, 2011, Redding Police investigators transported Norton from Sacramento to Redding. Norton was interviewed by investigators and confessed to the 1991 homicide. He was ultimately transported to the Shasta County Jail, where he was booked on a no-bail warrant charging him with murder.

This case is being prosecuted by the Shasta County District Attorneys Office.

-from press release

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