Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa crime analyst honored for helping to solve cold case murder in St. Petersburg

The governor and Cabinet honored a Tampa crime lab analyst as "Forensic Scientist of the Year" on Tuesday for her work last year helping St. Petersburg police solve an 18-year-old homicide.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst Beth Ordeman helped produce a DNA profile from the baseball cap left behind by the man police said shot and killed James Butler in 1991.

"It's nice to see one of their analysts recognized for doing a good job on one of our cases," said St. Petersburg police Maj. Mike Kovacsev. "Too often they are overlooked in the process and don't get the recognition that they deserve.

"The family was grateful that after 18 years they finally had a sense of closure."

Butler, 25, had just pulled up to his Burlington Avenue N home after a trip to Blockbuster when police said a man shot him in the chest and stole his car. It was July 16, 1991. The only clues left behind were a bicycle and a Miami Hurricanes cap. Police believe Butler was killed in a random robbery.

The shooting went unsolved for nearly two decades until Brenda Stevenson, a civilian investigator who works part time on cold cases for the St. Petersburg Police Department, got a call from Butler's parents in 2007. The baseball cap had to belong to the shooter, they told her, because it didn't belong to their son.

Stevenson sent the cap to the FDLE for more testing in 2009. The analyst, Ordeman, used new DNA collection techniques to identify genetic material found on the hat, the state said.

The DNA profile belonged to Alphonso Williams, authorities said. His fingerprints also matched partial prints from the bike.

He was 19 when Butler was killed, but died in September 2007. Police said Williams was gunned down on his bike by someone in a passing SUV just 2 miles from where Butler was killed. Williams, 35, died after compiling an extensive criminal record.

His murder remains unsolved.

Ordeman, who has been with FDLE since 2001, is assigned to the department's Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center.

Tampa crime analyst honored for helping to solve cold case murder in St. Petersburg 06/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 4:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no


    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  3. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  4. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee: