Seminole County grand jury issues indictment in 1986 cold case homicide

Danny Emitt could face death penalty

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Seminole County grand jury issued an indictment in connection with the July 14, 1986, death of Eveline Aguilar. 

Authorities have charged Danny Emitt, 50, with first-degree premeditated murder with a weapon and burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery. 

According to officials, Aguilar was found by a friend who discovered that the door of Aguilar's San Jose apartment was open.

Officials said Aguilar's body had been brutally and repeatedly stabbed to death, and the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

During the investigation deputies found that a pane of glass had been removed from a window, allowing it to be unlocked. Deputies also discovered palm prints on the window sill inside the apartment, as well as seminal fluid.

Both pieces of evidence remained unidentified, until recently.

"In 1986, Emitt was not identified as a suspect and the case eventually went cold. As part of a recent review, investigators subjected evidence recovered in 1986 to advanced DNA testing. The results were compared to DNA profiles within a national data base and positively matched to Emitt," the state attorney's office said in a news release.

Investigators were able to match the seminal fluid collected in Aguilar's case to a sexual assault case investigated by the Melbourne Police Department in 2005, according to an affidavit.

In the 2005 case, Emitt voluntarily gave his DNA for Melbourne police to compare it with evidence collected in the case involving the sexual assault of two underage girls. Though Emitt was cleared in the sexual assault case, his DNA remained in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Combined DNA Index System.

It was not until a review of Aguilar's case last year led investigators to submit the additional evidence collected during her autopsy. That evidence was analyzed and found to have the DNA of a man that was later determined to be Emitt's.

Authorities were also able to positively identify the palm print found on the window as belonging to Emitt.

"An arrest warrant was obtained by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office and Emitt was taken into custody in Knoxville, TN on May 22, 2019," the statement says.

Emitt was brought back to Seminole County this week. He faced a judge for his initial appearance Thursday afternoon.

Emitt's public defender said he did not have access to the suspect's arrest affidavit because the documents were sealed by the court. He argued Emitt's initial appearance should be postponed so he can review the case.

The judge agreed and asked the court to unseal the documents

"We're continuing the first appearance for 24 hours. Meanwhile, you are still held without bond," the judge said. 

A grand jury heard testimony from a Seminole County criminal investigator before returning with the indictment. 

If convicted, Emitt could face the death penalty, officials said. That decision is still under review. 

Emitt will be arraigned when he returns to Seminole County, but no exact date has been set. 

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