DNA Links Man in County Jail to Halloween Mask Found at South Dallas Murder Scene

More than three years ago, a woman Dallas police will not identify for her safety returned to her home on Frio Drive in South Dallas. A 36-year-old man named Hashim Anderson was there when she went to bed. At around 12:15 a.m., she jolted awake to "knocking noises and dogs barking." She peered out of her bedroom and saw Anderson sprawled in the front doorway, a white, Dracula Halloween mask sitting between his legs. A black knit cap she did not recognize sat on the sofa.

An hour later, Anderson was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital. The cause: a "gunshot wound to the trunk." Investigators collected the mask and the cap and had them analyzed for DNA. Multiple DNA profiles were identified on each, including Anderson's. The profiles were entered into CODIS, the FBI's sprawling database of blood and saliva samples. For three years, "unknown male" remained the killer's identity.

But during a routine Texas Department of Public Safety database search, unknown male's profile got a hit. The match was for a 24-year-old man named Jeffery Rabon, who, as it happened, was sitting in a Dallas County jail on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal trespassing.

During an interview with detectives, he denied going to the house on Frio Drive that night. A detective showed him a photo of the Dracula mask. Oddly, Rabon said it looked like something he'd use to "scare his stepson into using the bathroom," according to the arrest affidavit. Rabon apparently ended the interview shortly thereafter. Dallas police got a search warrant that allowed them to swab his cheeks for DNA.

Police say the analysis provided a match for Rabon, connecting him to both the mask and the knit cap. He was arrested Thursday. When shown a photo of the alleged suspect, the woman who found Hashim Anderson said she had never seen Rabon before.

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Brantley Hargrove