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Home » Press Releases » 2009 News Archive » BPD Cold Case Squad Solves "30 Plus Year" Murder Case

BPD Cold Case Squad Solves "30 Plus Year" Murder Case

Bernard Thomas, charged with two counts of murder in the 2nd degree.

Incident Occurred 34 Years Ago Today

Buffalo Police Cold Case Detectives have solved a murder case that occurred on the morning of May 20th, 1975.

Detectives have arrested 55 year old Bernard Thomas of South Division St. and charged him with two counts of murder in the 2nd degree in connection with the fatal shooting death of Michelle Dixon.

DNA evidence was a major key to solving this crime.

“I reactivated the Buffalo Police Department’s Cold Case Squad in 2006 to arrest criminals responsible for crimes, no matter how long ago they were committed, and more importantly, to aid families and loved ones of victims who have sought justice and closure for the victims of these heinous acts,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown.

The mayor added, “I commend the men and women of the Cold Case Squad who work tirelessly and with great dedication to solve these crimes and to arrest those responsible. They do a great service to the residents of Buffalo and especially to the families and loved ones of the crime victims.”

Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson said, “It’s never too late for justice to be done. I want to commend our Detectives for their dedication and persistence. And this once again demonstrates the commitment to the victims and families of homicides that they know they are never forgotten by the Buffalo Police Department.”

On the morning of May 20th, 1975, Buffalo Police Officers responded to a call of shots fired at 52 Carl Street. When they entered the home, they discovered the body of 19 year old Michelle Dixon. Detectives believe that Dixon had been shot while she was in her bed.

Despite an exhaustive investigation by Homicide Detectives the case went unsolved for over 33 years.

Cold Case Detective Brian Ross began to re-examine the case in the summer of 2008 after receiving a call from Michelle’s brother. She is survived to this day by him and a sister, who live out of state.

As part of the investigation , Cold Case Detectives began locating and submitting physical evidence to the Central Police Services Lab. A genetic profile was then developed from DNA left behind, at the scene of the original crime.

Cold Case Detective’s Brian Ross, Charles Aronica and Lissa Redmond then located the suspect in late February of this year.

In early March, Detectives conducted an initial interview with Bernard Thomas.

During a second interview in mid March, Detectives were able to obtain a voluntary DNA buccal swab from the defendant.

Later that month, Buffalo Police received the lab report that confirmed that Bernard Thomas was the source of DNA evidence from the May 20th 1975 crime scene.

Earlier this week, on the morning of Monday, May 18th,  Bernard Thomas called the homicide office and agreed to talk to Detectives later that day. Just after 3pm, Cold Case Detectives arrested Bernard Thomas.

Since 2007, Cold Case Detectives along with Homicide Detectives have solved 36 murders that were committed in previous years.

Thomas was arraigned Tuesday in Buffalo City court. He is being held without bail at the Erie County Holding Center. He is scheduled back in City Court on May 26th for a felony hearing.