Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cold Case Closed

Monster Gets Life for Stangling Mother and Child 20 Years Ago

BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 4- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced that Robert Fleming has been sentenced to a maximum term of up to life imprisonment for the strangulation murders of a 27-year-old mother and her 9-year-old daughter in February 1988.

A jury convicted Fleming, 49, on two counts of murder in the second degree, on July 31, 2013 following a four-week trial before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy. Fleming was found guilty on two counts of intentional murder in the deaths of Selina Cooper and her daughter Joi Little. Prior to the murders Fleming and Cooper had been involved in a brief relationship.

Justice Clancy sentenced Fleming to two consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison making Fleming ineligible for parole until he has served at least 50 years.

The murders occurred during the alleged commission of rape, sodomy and other sexual offenses against the victims, however Fleming could not be charged with the sex crimes because they had occurred beyond the statute of limitations. The victims’ bodies were found in a bedroom at Cooper’s apartment on East 174th Street in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx.

Fleming was not arrested and charged with the murders until 20 years later in February 2009 following years of investigative work by NYPD Detectives assigned to the Cold Case Squad. In 2001, following advances in DNA technology, semen samples from the bloody sheets on the bed where the bodies were found were tested and found to be a match for Fleming’s DNA profile which had been uploaded to the New York State DNA databank (CODIS) as a result of his conviction on an unrelated crime. Two years later investigators tested vaginal swabs taken from the victims which had never been tested. Those swabs produced DNA from semen which also matched Fleming’s DNA that was recovered from the bloody sheets. While Fleming spent time in and out of prison for unrelated crimes, detectives continued investigating the 1988 double homicide seeking additional evidence. Fleming was indicted by the grand jury in January 2009.

District Attorney Johnson thanked Senior Assistant District Attorney Nancy Borko, Assistant District Attorney Brenna Zortman and Detective Wendell Stradford of the NYPD Cold Case Squad for their efforts in the successful prosecution of this case.

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