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Home » Press Releases » 2010 News Archive » Cold Case Murder Solved

Cold Case Murder Solved

An anonymous tip almost five years after an innocent teenager was shot to death has helped authorities in finding the suspected killer.

The Buffalo Police Cold Case Squad, working closely with the Erie County CPS Laboratory, has solved a fatal shooting that dated back to November of 2003.

On Friday, April 23rd, an Erie County Grand Jury indicted 25 year old Joseph Whittaker in the death of 17 year old Demetrius Dickens of Norfolk Avenue.

Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “Thanks to the commitment and dedication of the members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Cold Case Squad and the willingness of a citizen to provide helpful, anonymous information, Joseph Whittaker will be held accountable for the death of Demetrius Dickens in 2003”.

The Mayor added, “The Cold Case Squad, time and again, proves that we will not let those responsible for these types of heinous crimes rest comfortably. We will relentlessly search for them, arrest them and ensure that they stand trial for the crimes they commit”.

Cold Case Detectives say that Dickens appeared to be an innocent victim when he was shot while at home on the night of November 16th, 2003, at approximately 7:15pm.

Almost five years after the incident, the case took a major step forward in April 2008 when detectives received an anonymous tip.

That tip led Buffalo police to resubmit evidence to the Erie County CPS Lab.

“Once again, a tip from someone in the community was the impetus for detectives to zero in on this cold case investigation”, according to Chief of Detectives, Dennis J. Richards.

Richards added, “That anonymous tip eventually led to an indictment of the individual believed responsible for the murder of a 17 year old youth”.

In November 2009, the lab received a DNA match from CODIS on evidence from the scene of the incident.

At this time, detectives are not commenting on the motive for the shooting.

Whittaker is currently in custody on an unrelated probation violation and is expected to be arraigned in connection with the murder of Dickens on Monday, April 26th.

Buffalo Police Cold Case Detectives Charles Aronica, Lissa Redmond and Brian Ross all assisted in the case.

In addition, Dr. John Simich, Paul Mazur and Serologist Paul Hojnacki of the Erie County Forensic Lab played instrumental roles during the investigation.