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SOLVED | Waco PD solves 30-year-old cold murder case with man's arrest

Though DNA samples were collected at the time, the available technology then caused the case to go cold, police said.

WACO, Texas — The Waco Police Department solved a 30-year-old murder case after officers arrested a 65-year-old man on Tuesday.

Police say the man, identified as Harold Givens, murdered 28-year-old Rita Davis on Sept. 22, 1991. That night, her body was found near 7th Street and McKinney.  

Medical examiners conducted an autopsy at the time and learned Davis died of blunt force injuries to her head and a hemorrhage to her neck, according to police. Examiners also found sperm following a sex assault exam, police added.

Though DNA samples were collected at the time, the available technology then caused the case to go cold, police said.

At the time, detectives only knew that Givens and two friends were smoking crack cocaine that night when Davis and Givens got into a fight, police said in a news release. The two friends left Davis and Givens, but when they returned, both of them were gone that night, police added.

Police conducted interviews with Givens and the two friends, but found that the friends gave conflicting information at the time. One friend said the fight happened on Sept. 17 while the other friend said the fight happened on Sept. 21, the night before she was found dead, police said.

Police took a sample of Givens' blood and saliva, but technology available at the time couldn't help determine if he had something to do with her death.

In 2006, a detective then later retested the samples using advanced DNA technology and found minor samples of Givens' DNA, police said.

Police did not explain why an arrest wasn't made that year or why the case went cold again.

In 2022, however, Givens was re-interviewed after a cold case detective and a special crimes detective told him his original statement about what happened wasn't true, thanks to the DNA results.

Initially, Givens told detectives the two had oral sex, but tests showed otherwise, police said. When re-interviewed, Givens told detectives he got angry with Davis because she wanted more cocaine, so he reportedly hit her with a closed fist a few times. Police did not clarify if Givens sexually assaulted her, too, despite sperm samples being found originally.

Givens was then arrested at his home in Waco on June 21 without incident.

"The Waco Police Department would like to acknowledge the previous work done by the assigned detectives in 1991, 1992 and 2006. Without their initial investigative work an arrest would not have been able to be made today," police said in a news release.

Givens was booked into jail and charged with murder, documents show.

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