Sacramento man arrested in 20-year-old homicide cold case
By Julie Johnson

Published: Saturday, Jul. 4, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Sacramento police arrested a suspect Friday afternoon in connection with a 1989 North Sacramento homicide.

DNA evidence linked Donald Carter, 56, to the 1989 killing of 80-year-old Sophia McAllister, police said.

Carter is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Main Jail, according to police records.

On May 23, 1989, McAllister was found dead in her home in the 500 block of Eleanor Avenue. A Meals on Wheels volunteer became concerned when she noticed McAllister hadn't touched the previous day's food delivery.

Police reported that McAllister apparently had been beaten to death by a burglar who entered through an unlocked window and ransacked her home. They continued the investigation for years, but found no leads or suspects.

In 2005, the Police Department's cold case unit reopened the case to look for possible DNA evidence. The Sacramento County Crime Lab developed a DNA profile for a possible suspect, but it didn't match any offenders on state or national databases at that time.

In March, investigators linked that evidence with a DNA sample gathered from Carter. The sample was taken when Carter was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on an unrelated narcotics charge.

Records indicated that Carter lived 1 1/2 blocks away from McAllister at the time of the killing, according to a police report.