FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A former United States soldier is charged with first-degree murder for a nearly 13-year-old fatal cold case stabbing in Fayetteville.
Joshua Richardson, 41, is currently locked up in the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond after recently being extradited back to North Carolina from Houston, Texas in connection to the murder of Terrance Plummer.
Plummer’s murder occurred Memorial Day weekend in 2010 at an abandoned apartment on Rhew Street in Fayetteville.
The 22-year-old victim, who was part of the LGBTQ community, was stabbed dozens of times.
“It was one of the more brutal murders that I’ve dealt with in my career,” Sgt. Jeff Locklear with the Fayetteville Police Department said. “All cases are important, but this case gnawed at me.”
Investigators were determined to find out what exactly happened.
Sgt. Locklear made it clear the department did not use reverse DNA to identify Richardson, but other “forensic means.” He also did not specifically say what key piece of evidence finally nailed detectives to Richardson, even after so many years.
“[We] thought it would be sooner than 13 years…but it led to the suspect,” Sgt. Locklear said.
At this time Sgt. Locklear also said the only way they will be identifying Richardson will be as a former active-duty military member. He said some evidence at the time showed a connection to the military 13 years ago, but clearly not enough to ID anyone.
Meanwhile, the community kept pressing for answers — something Sgt. Locklear said stuck with him.
“They would be like, ‘you said you’re going to solve that case. You never solved it.’ That kind of affects you,” Sgt. Locklear said. “It took time for the science to develop. For the database to communicate and that kind of stuff,” he also said.
Investigators would not go into details about the relationship between the victim and suspect pending trial. However, detectives said there is no evidence of a hate crime, which was asked because during the presser a direct question was asked about Plummer identifying as transgender.
“Yes, transgender,” Sgt. Locklear said. “[But] no evidence of a hate crime.”
Sgt. Locklear also described Plummer’s family as “elated” when receiving the phone call that the cold case would be no more.
“They didn’t know if they would ever get closure. They’re happy to see this process close out and want to be as involved as possible. [It was a] surreal moment to make that phone call,” Locklear said.
Despite a monumental closure to a 13-year-old case, Fayetteville Police Department said it currently has more than 100 unsolved cold cases, with the oldest dating back to 1964. With the advancement of technology, however, investigators said in the presser they expect more to be solved.
“To the family and friends of Terrence Plummer, I hope this arrest, in this case, brings you new hope that justice can be served,” Fayetteville Police Chief Kem Braden said.