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Published: Saturday, 10/22/2005

DNA analysis leads to arrest in woman's slaying

Dellmus Colvin, who was to be tried on Monday in a separate case, is charged with the slaying of a Toledo woman. Dellmus Colvin, who was to be tried on Monday in a separate case, is charged with the slaying of a Toledo woman.

A truck driver was charged yesterday with the slaying of a woman whose body was found this year in a vacant lot in North Toledo.

Dellmus Colvin, 46, of 547 Crittenden St., was charged with the murder of Melissa Weber, 37, after police linked him to the crime through a DNA analysis. The charge was filed in Toledo Municipal Court.

J. Christopher Anderson, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said cold-case investigators are reviewing similar, unsolved slayings of women, and tests are under way to determine whether evidence in the cases is consistent with Colvin's DNA.

Mr. Anderson said the testing of the defendant's DNA matched evidence obtained in the investigations in sexual assaults of two women in 1998 and 2003 and was consistent in the slaying of a 33-year-old woman in 2003. Colvin is not charged in any of those crimes.

Ms. Weber's decomposed body was found May 9 under a couch behind a vacant truck terminal at 1045 Matzinger Rd.

Ms. Weber, who last year told police she lived at her mother's apartment on Ontario Street, had several convictions for loitering, soliciting, and drug-related offenses.

Mr. Anderson said evidence taken from beneath Ms. Weber's fingernails matched the defendant's DNA, which was obtained as part of an investigation into the April 2, 2004, beating and sexual assault of a 40-year-old North Toledo woman.

In that case, Colvin is charged with rape, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and felonious assault. He is accused of beating and assaulting the woman in the cab of a tractor-trailer in a parking lot at Hagman and Alexis roads, also in North Toledo.

He was to go on trial Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. However, Judge Denise Ann Dartt continued the case yesterday to Nov. 2 at the request of Colvin's attorney, Keith Mitchell.

The woman told police she got into the truck at Summit and Magnolia streets. She said she was punched in the ribs and face and threatened with a knife after she went with the defendant to a warehouse in Oregon. After being driven around for more than an hour, she escaped from her attacker in a parking lot in the 600 block of East Manhattan Boulevard. She was treated at a hospital.

Ms. Weber's relatives said they last saw her in February.

The mother of two daughters, ages 11 and 4, Ms. Weber struggled with addictions to drugs, particularly cocaine and crack, but was trying to overcome those problems, family members said.

Mr. Anderson said a grand jury will be presented with the evidence in the murder of Ms. Weber, possibly as early as next week.

Colvin, who is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $200,000 bond, has a criminal history of violence.

He was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison in 1989 for felonious assault and a weapons violation in Summit County. He was released on parole in 1992, but sent back to prison in July, 1993, for violating parole after being convicted of drug abuses charges. He was released in 1996.

- Mark Reiter

and Christina Hall

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