DNA leads to murder charge in 1992 stabbing in St. Paul

Ramsey County prosecutors have charged a Minneapolis man with second-degree murder in the 1992 stabbing death of a St. Paul woman

A Minneapolis man has been charged with second-degree murder in the 1992 stabbing death of a St. Paul woman whose partially clothed body was found near a streetcar tunnel, prosecutors said Wednesday.

John Robert Capers, 65, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday.

He's charged in the death of 39-year-old Annette Seymour. A citizen discovered Seymour's body on July 14, 1992, near the entrance to the old Selby Avenue streetcar tunnel below the St. Paul Cathedral.

She was clothed in only a T-shirt, and had 11 stab wounds to her neck, chest, back and arms. An autopsy showed she died of blood loss.

According to the criminal complaint, in 2009, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension tested some evidence in the case and found that DNA from a semen stain matched a profile of Capers, who was in a national database. Matches in that database can be used for investigative purposes, but cannot be used in court, the complaint said.

Investigators confirmed the match in 2011, but more investigative work needed to be done, said Dennis Gerhardstein, spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.

Around the same time, the grant money that funded a police investigator to work on cold cases ran out, and that investigator was reassigned, said police spokesman Steve Linders. The investigation into Seymour's death became inactive due to a lack of resources.

Last year, a prosecutor took a fresh look at the Seymour case, began investigating again and put all of the pieces together to bring charges, Gerhardstein said.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday if Capers has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

When authorities interviewed Capers in 2011, they showed him a picture of Seymour. He denied knowing her, meeting her or having anything to do with her death, the complaint said.