FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Brownsville Man Indicted for 2012 Cold Case
Murder of His Girlfriend
Defendant’s DNA Found on Victim’s Fingernails and on
Laundry Bag in Which Body was Discovered
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 59-year-old man has been indicted for murder, with DNA evidence connecting him to the 2012 death of his 50-year-old girlfriend whose body was discovered inside a laundry bag that was left on a street in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A thorough examination of the forensic evidence in this cold case and additional recent investigatory steps allowed us to bring murder charges in order to hold the alleged killer responsible. My Cold Case Unit continues to work diligently with the NYPD to identify and investigate past crimes, including those that lie dormant, in an attempt to bring all offenders to justice.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Clayton Wilkins, 59, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice on one charge of second-degree murder and one charge of first degree strangulation and was ordered held without bail and to return to court on March 22, 2019. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 15, 2012, at about 12:30 p.m., the body of Renee Staton, 50, of Manhattan, was discovered inside a black laundry bag outside of 101 Lott Avenue in Brownsville. The victim was last seen the previous afternoon leaving the Bridge’s lyana House in East Harlem, which provides housing for homeless women.
A forensic analysis of the evidence recovered from the victim’s left and right hands’ fingernails, from a scarf the victim was wearing and from the drawstrings of the laundry bag matched a DNA sample that was provided by the defendant. In a recent interview with detectives, the defendant, who was dating the victim at the time, denied ever seeing the laundry bag or getting scratched by the victim.
The case was investigated by Detective Jason Palamara of the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Dennis Klein.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Rachel Singer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Forensic Science and Cold Case Unit, and Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt