A judge ruled Friday morning that there is sufficient probable cause to continue the cold-case murder prosecution of Edward Lewis Owens.
The decision by 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin came after testimony in a preliminary hearing by a Woods Cross police detective and the murder victim's husband.
Owens, 57, last year faced a murder charge in the 1980 strangulation death of Karin Strom, 25, but the charge was later dismissed by prosecutors who said they would continue to investigate.
Woods Cross Police detective Brad Benson testified that after the crime in 1980, Strom's underwear was sent to the Weber State University Crime Lab for forensic testing. Given the technology at the time, however, nothing linking a person to the crime was discovered.
This year, subsequent examination of the clothing at the Utah State Crime lab revealed two blood spots which Benson said had DNA linked to Owens.
An re-analysis of autopsy results by the state's chief medical examiner Dr. Todd Grey also produced a narrower time frame for Strom's death because of advances in technology.
Crime lab experts initially thought she died sometime between 10 p.m. June 5 and 2 a.m. June 6. The time of death has been narrowed to 12:30 a.m., with an hour leeway either way, according to testimony.
Additional testimony revealed DNA samples found under Strom's fingernails belonged to Owens and Strom's husband, Steven Strom. The DNA from Owens was semen, according to Benson.
Owens, being held without bail, is charged with first-degree felony murder in Strom's death.Initially her husband, Steve Strom, was charged with her killing, but those charges were dropped. The case was later reopened by Woods Cross police.