Idaho man charged with murder after DNA links him to 1985 Anchorage cold case

The 56-year-old was 19 when Anchorage taxi driver was killed; faces up to 99 years in jail
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 1:53 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Idaho man is facing murder charges after Anchorage police linked him to a 1985 death using DNA testing.

Eric Lane Jones, 56, was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder, according to a press release, after genealogy tracking connected him to the 1985 death of Jawed Ahmed, an Anchorage taxi driver. Jones faces up to 99 years in prison, if convicted.

Ahmed, 32, was found dead early in the morning on May 28, 1985, with three .380 caliber bullet wounds in his chest, according to the release from the Alaska Department of Law.

According to charging documents, witnesses say a man got into a taxi at a Quik Stop gas station at Northern Lights Boulevard and Boniface Parkway just past midnight. Later, other witnesses found the taxi crashed in a yard on the northeast corner of Muldoon Road and Boundary Avenue, with the engine still running and “wheels spinning.” Witnesses say they turned the engine off, according to documents.

The charging documents say that witnesses described a “white person with dark complexion, possibly Latino or Native descent” fleeing the scene west on Boundary. Police say the man escaped, but K9 officer Timothy Taylor and his dog Toklat found a bloody shirt sleeve near Oklahoma Street. A few hours later, a gray sweater with blood on it was found near where the shirt sleeve was discovered, clumped up under leaves.

In 2009, Anchorage police submitted the T-shirt sleeve and sweater for DNA testing, which unveiled that the sweater had been in the cab where Ahmed was found.

In 2020, detective Brett Sarber with the Anchorage Cold Case Unit submitted the DNA evidence for genealogy testing, which uncovered Jones’ name.

Further investigation uncovered another crime that Jones was arrested for, including a domestic violence charge in 1992 in Sitka in which police say Jones allegedly shot at a car that his girlfriend was in. A .380 caliber pistol was also used in that incident.

Idaho State Troopers were alerted and on Oct. 5, 2021, undercover officers located Jones in a restaurant, where they collected “chopsticks and a drink bottle” that Jones had used for a meal. Further DNA analysis confirmed that it was Jones’ blood on the shirt sleeve from 36 years earlier.

Jones was arrested by Idaho police and detective Sarber reached out to the department for an interview with Jones on Jan. 3, 2022. Sarber said Jones admitted shooting Ahmed in the cab, according to the charging documents.

Additional documents from the Court Clerk of the Yukon Territory in Whitehorse, Canada, showed that Jones was arrested and served 14 days in jail for illegally crossing the border into Canada from Alaska on May 31, 1985, three days after the Anchorage shooting.

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