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A Florida man who was arrested in connection to the cold case murder of a convenience store manager who was stabbed 73 times nearly three decades ago, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison Friday.
Kenneth Stough, Jr. was convicted by an Orange County jury of first-degree murder with a weapon in the death of Terrance Paquette after a five-day trial, prosecutors said.
Paquette was found dead the morning of Feb. 3, 1996, inside the bathroom of the Lil’ Champ convenience store in northwest Orange County. Pools of blood stained the floor and walls in photos shown by the sheriff’s office after the 2021 arrest of the then 54-year-old Stough. The cash deposit from the store was also missing.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters at a press conference following Stough’s arrest after DNA from a discarded can of beer linked him to the cold case, that the scene was “very gruesome.”
PORTLAND SERIAL KILLER DIES AT HOME AFTER SENTENCE OF JUST PROBATION
Kenneth Stough Jr., left, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1996 murder of Terence Paquette. Paquette was stabbed 73 times and had his throat slit in the bathroom of a northwest Orange County convenience store where he worked. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)
Paquette, 31, was the sole employee of the store. Deputies were initially called to the scene after someone noticed the lights were out even though the store was usually open at the time. Once inside deputies found Paquette dead from 73 stab wounds.
Investigators said blood from Stough was found throughout the store, including the freezer door, freezer flap, the lottery machine, and the key cylinder and push bar of the entry and exit door. The killer injured himself during the attack and “moved around to various parts” of the store before fleeing the scene, authorities said.
At the time of the killing, there was no way to make an arrest based on blood evidence without comparing it to another blood sample, Mina said.
The case went cold and remained that way until 2021, when a droplet of blood recovered from the handle of the store freezer was discovered. It was tested by forensic genealogists with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and determined the blood came from one of three brothers.
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A DNA sample submitted was determined to be a relative of Stough’s parents. He had worked at the convenience store for some time before Paquette and lived in an apartment across the street from him in 1996.
Investigators surveilled Stough and collected DNA from a bag of discarded beer cans, which linked him to the killing, prosecutors said.
Fox News Digital’s Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.
Louis Casiano is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected].