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Laren Strom

FARMINGTON — Davis County prosecutors have refiled a murder charge in the cold-case slaying of a Woods Cross woman.

Ed Owens, 57, was charged again Wednesday with first-degree felony murder in the 1980 death of 25-year-old Karin Strom. Prosecutors originally dismissed the case in December 2007, saying that DNA test results on evidence in the case would have created

"tremendous difficulty in proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt."

According to an arrest warrant issued for Owens on Wednesday, police believe they have new DNA evidence that could convict him.

"During the investigation, fingernails were taken from Ms. Strom's body and the clothing she was wearing was also maintained," Woods Cross police detective Brad Benson wrote. "Affiant resubmitted clothing to the Utah State Crime Lab for additional DNA testing. Their report was issued showing that blood from the defendant was located on her clothing."

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings would not comment on the charge. Owens' defense attorney, Michael Studebaker, said authorities' previous attempts to link Owens to the DNA failed.

"We are prepared to defend it," Studebaker said.

Owens' whereabouts is currently unknown. Studebaker said he couldn't comment, but a law enforcement source told the Deseret News that Owens is believed to have left the state.

Strom was strangled inside her home in June 1980. At first, her husband was charged with the slaying, but charges were later dismissed. Woods Cross police later reopened the case and used DNA analysis to link Owens to the crime.

"During the investigation, the defendant admitted that he knew where Ms. Strom resided and was a friend of the family," Benson wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. "The investigation also showed that the defendant was not at work nor at his residence during the time the murder would have occurred."

Even when dismissing the charges, prosecutors refused to clear Owens of the crime. Studebaker has said Owens maintained his innocence.


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