Gainesville police say that they have solved an 11-year-old murder cold case. They have arrested an Atlanta man and charged him in the 2001 killing of Crystal Barnette.
According to Gainesville police, on April 1, 2001, Barnette was walking to a friend's home in the early hours of that day when she was attacked by a man, and killed. The cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma.
There were no witnesses to that crime, and her case went cold until last week, just a block away from where Barnette's body was found, another woman was attacked.
Gainesville police say the woman was injured, and her attacker was found and arrested shortly after the incident. They charged Daniel Lee Mason III with the crime, and as they probed that crime they found similarities with the Barnette case. Through investigative work, they eventually charged Mason with Barnette's murder as well.
With Mason's arrest, Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly said it gives Barnette's family a bit of closure, but it also opens up old wounds. Kelly said the family was appreciative of the work that was put into the case by authorities.
Police say Mason is being looked at for other crimes in Gainesville, Hall County, and the metro area that are similar to Barnette's case.
Authorities said that Mason knew both women he is accused of attacking. They say that they have determined a motive, but have not made it public yet.
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