Man accused in 1988 murder pleads not guilty

Local News
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BOWIE CO., Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A man charged in a 30-year-old murder case has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in court on Monday.

Bowie County Sheriff’s Office investigators said it was an update to the FBI’s fingerprint database that helped them identify 52-year-old Lee Morris Hamburg as a suspect.

In a news conference earlier this month, Sheriff James Prince announced Hamburg’s arrest. Investigators said he was living with Gene Downs before he was found shot to death inside his home in October, 1988. 

Downs had been shot multiple times and his vehicle had also been stolen. 

Prince says investigators submitted evidence to the FBI and several other agencies but the killer remained unknown and the case grew cold. In late 2018, the FBI updated their Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which allowed them to identify Hamburg as a potential suspect in the case.

Prince says he and Investigator Chad Ford, along with and Captain Robby McCarver, traveled to Rocklin, California in early April to interview Hamburg about his involvement in the crime. The interview resulted in an arrest warrant being issued on Hamburg on a charge of murder. The sheriff says Hamburg confessed to the murder.

Hamburg was arrested in California and transported back to Bowie County. His next court date is set for June 17.

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