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P.G. man sentenced for 2001 home-invasion killing

DNA hit provides suspect in decade-old cold case

- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 23, 2012

A District Heights man was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 20 years for the 2001 killing of an Upper Marlboro man who was fatally shot while in his bed next to his fiance and infant son during a 2001 home invasion robbery.

Billy Joe Simon was convicted on April 27 of first-degree murder for the June 2001 killing of Michael Anthony Neal. Authorities charged Simon 10 years after the crime, when they matched DNA found at the scene to a sample Simon submitted upon his conviction for an unrelated crime.

Prosecutors said Simon, who knew the victim, and another man donned masks and broke into Neal's home through a basement door. Simon fatally shot Neal, and the men forced the fiance to show them where a large amount of money was hidden.

The identity of the other man remains unknown, prosecutors said.

The fiance and child were unharmed, as was Neal's 12-year-old daughter who was sleeping in a bedroom downstairs.

Police found small blood smears on the walls of a stairwell and entered DNA from the blood into the Combined DNA Index System database. In February 2011, the database matched it with Simon's profile.

Prince George's County police charged Simon on May 5, 2011.

The jury also convicted Simon of robbery with a deadly weapon, use of a handgun in a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and theft.

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