ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The St. Petersburg Police Department said it found new answers in a cold case murder investigation 26 years after the crime occurred.
In a Tuesday press conference, Assistant Chief Michael Kovacsev said detectives learned who killed Richard “Juicy” Evans.
Evans was only 18 years old when he was fatally shot in an alley near the 3400 block of 22nd Avenue South.
“I was a brand new patrol officer at the time, and the reason why I remember is I was one of the first officers on scene, and I was there when Richard was passing away,” Kovacsev said.
Witnesses told St. Petersburg police that they saw Evans arguing with someone who appeared to be between 15 and 20 years old. It was during this argument that Evans was shot.
According to the department, the witnesses chased the teenage gunman, who dropped a bicycle in the alley before he escaped.
“The case went cold very quickly,” Kovacsev said. “We were able to get a very, very detailed description of the suspect at that time that was responsible for taking [Evans’] life including mannerisms and a description of who did it, but it never materialized.”
Police said fingerprints were found on the discarded bicycle, but they did not have a match at the time. No touch DNA was found either.
However, this changed in 2022 when Cold Case Detective Wallace Pavelski reviewed the investigation and got a match from the thumbprint with a man who was arrested for another crime.
According to police, this man knew Evans before his death.
Even though they found the match, police learned that the suspect had died in November 2022 at the age of 41. He would have been 15 years old at the time of Evans’ murder.
While the department shared its findings with Evans’ family, Kovacsev said St. Petersburg police would not release the suspect’s name.
Evans’ mother, Catherine Clarkson, and his aunt, Sabrina Byrd, were present for the press conference. They said they were grateful for the department’s work in identifying Evans’ killer, feeling like a load had been lifted.
“I’m 65,” Clarkson said. “I thought I was going to leave this world not knowing who took my child’s life.
“Justice has been served for my family,” Byrd said.