Staten Island Preacher Arrested For Killing A Brooklyn Teen 40 Years Later

Written By: @dawnnnyy_


September 25, 1980, newly engaged, Lorraine Snell, 19, was excited about her upcoming engagement party. Yet, little did Lorraine know she would not make it to the party as September 25 was the last day she was seen alive.

The East Flatbush resident stopped by a catering hall in preparation for her big day. According to People, she left the Midwood Terrace restaurant with James Burrus. Twelve hours later, her fiancee found her in a parked station wagon with a cable wrapped around her neck.

For nearly 40 years, the prime suspect was James Burrus, Lorraine’s cousin’s estranged husband.

In 2014, Burrus told PIX 11, “We did leave the building together. I walked her, I believe it was, on Clarendon Road. A few blocks from her house, I went one way, and I watched her go up by her block.”

At the time of the murder, DNA technology was not as top-notch as it is today. Rachel Singer, head of Brooklyn District Attorney’s Forensic Science and Cold Case Unit, worked with the NYPD to “tap into advances in DNA technology.” From this, they were able to link DNA from underneath the victim’s nails to Burrus, PIX11 reports.

On Thursday, Burrus, now 64 and a preacher, was finally arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

The mother of the victim is at peace that Burrus is behind bars. “Oh my God! Thank you, Jesus,” said Pearl Snell-Holder, now 82. “It’s been 39 and a half years. Lorraine got her justice.”

Burrus, who has had a few stints in jail in the past, is currently being held without bail. People reported that he is scheduled to return to court on March 24.

Outside of the courthouse on Thursday, Lorraine’s mother told reporters, “Forty years is a long time. But everything worked out,” she said. “It will always be hard. Always. I’m a mother. I bear the pain… I will never forget. Never forget. It’s justice for her but not closure for me.”

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