Arrest made in Kensington 1999 parking space murder

Alexis Orona / James Schumacher
July 11, 2012 8:20:09 PM PDT
It was new cutting edge DNA technology that police say led to a 13-year-old cold-case being solved.

It was back in the early morning hours of December 4th, 1999 that 39-year-old James 'Jimmie' Schumacher was stabbed to death over a parking space.

It was a chilly night and he had double parked in the 2000 block of Hagert Street in Kensington to quickly put his 9-day-old baby girl in the car and leave.

But an impatient motorist couldn't wait.

An Action News Crimestoppers report back then quotes witnesses as saying the motorist scuffled with Schumacher and then stabbed him, piercing his heart.

He died three days later.

The motorist fled and the case went cold until now.

The news that the case had been solved caused a celebration by friends and family in the 2000 block of Cumberland Street.

"I feel like a weight's been taken off, I love it. Thank the good lord, I never thought it would happen," James' mother Barbara McKeeber said. "It took 12 and a half years, but it was worth waiting."

As he lay dying on the sidewalk, Schumacher had implored his wife not to touch a hat the motorist dropped before fleeing.

He believed it had DNA evidence that would be linked to the killer.

It did, but the technology did not yet exist to extract it from the hat until recently.

"In this case, evidence was discovered that possibly now we could get DNA from it and we did," Lt. Mark Deegan of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

Police say the DNA evidence is linked to 44-year-old Alexis Orona from the 2400 block of North Hancock. He was already in prison upstate for another crime when he was brought back here to be charged with murder.

"It's like an honor to be here sitting and talking with you today because our murderer of my brother James Schumacher got caught today and he didn't turn himself in, he got caught by DNA evidence," James' brother Michael McKeeber said.

On Wednesday night, family and friends lit a candle next to Schumacher's picture in his honor and memory in hopes that he can finally now rest in peace.

"We all grew up together, I do miss him and I'm glad this is done. Right on Jimmie!"a family friend said.

Police were also pleased that they were finally able to solve this cold case.

They are also optimistic that this new DNA technology will help them solve other cold cases that they have never been able to solve before.


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