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Prosecutors seek additional DNA evidence in 1995 killing

Published: Friday, July 3 2015 6:36 p.m. MDT

Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2013, and charged with aggravated murder in the death of Krystal Beslanowitch, 17. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway in 1995. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. (Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office) Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2013, and charged with aggravated murder in the death of Krystal Beslanowitch, 17. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway in 1995. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. (Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office)

HEBER CITY — Prosecutors who charged a man with killing a 17-year-old girl nearly two decades ago are seeking additional DNA evidence for their case.

Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, is accused of killing Krystal Lynn Beslanowitch and leaving her body along the bank of the Provo River in Wasatch County on Dec. 15, 1995. He was charged in 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.

The nude body of Beslanowitch was found lying face down in the rocks along the river, about three miles northeast of Midway. An autopsy determined that Beslanowitch died from multiple blunt force injuries to her head. The alleged murder weapons were believed to be large rocks found at the scene.

The case went cold, however, until 2008 when detectives were able to take advantage of advances in DNA technology. The investigation took detectives to Sarasota, Fla., in August where they collected DNA evidence from Simpson, a former Utah resident, without his knowledge by collecting a discarded cigarette butt. He was arrested on Sept. 17 and extradited back to Utah on Sept. 25.

Last week, prosecutors sought to boost their case by requesting that a search warrant be approved. Investigators want to match a bloody fingerprint found on Beslanowitch's wrist believed to be left by her attacker, according to court records.

Krystal Beslanowitch, 17, was killed in 1995. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2013, and charged with aggravated murder in her death. (Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office) Krystal Beslanowitch, 17, was killed in 1995. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2013, and charged with aggravated murder in her death. (Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office)

"At no time has a palm print been taken from Simpson for comparison against the bloody print left on the victim's wrist," the warrant states.

In addition, an affidavit for a second search warrant was filed to collect additional DNA swabs from Simpson so both Sorensen Forensics and the Utah State Crime Lab can "confirm and validate their testing" on pieces of evidence collected in 1995.

Simpson's next scheduled court date is Wednesday.

In 1987, he was convicted of murder in Clearfield in a separate case and sentenced to the Utah State Prison. He was first paroled in April of 1995, but was sent back to prison in 1997 for violating his parole with a drug-related offense. Simpson was paroled again in September of 1997 and moved to Florida where he completed parole in 2003.

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