Reporting Todd Quinones
By Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The entire case is tied back to a baseball hat allegedly worn by the suspect the night of the stabbing more than a decade ago.
As James Schumacher lay dying on the street, he noticed the suspect’s hat on the ground.
“He said, ‘Don’t touch that hat,’ Jimmy was like that’s what’s going to catch the guy,” Schumacher’s brother, Mike McKeever, said.
It turns out the hat, police say, belongs to 44-year-old Alexis Orona.
It was a break in the case that led Schumacher’s mother to tears on Wednesday.
In December 1999, police say Schumacher got into an argument over a parking space with Orona on east Hagert Street.
Schumacher was putting his daughter Faith, then just 10-day-old, in the car.
The 34-year-old father was stabbed in the chest.
The suspect got away and wasn’t identified.
But all of that dramatically changed when homicide’s Special Investigations Unit recently dug into the cold case and took a look at the baseball hat.
“At the time we didn’t have the DNA capabilities we have now. So in reviewing the case, the cap was submitted. DNA was discovered,” Lt. Mark Deegan said.
The DNA hit through the work of the police crime lab led authorities in May to Orona, who was already previously locked up on an unrelated case.
For Schumacher’s mom, daughter and family, their more than 12-year-long wait for an arrest was over.
“I’m so happy. Thank the good Lord,” Schumacher’s mother Barbara McKeever said.
“I prayed for this day, that they would catch this guy,” Schumacher’s son Jimmy said.
Orona has been charged in connection to the murder.