How Dallas Police Used DNA from a Gorilla Mask to Investigate a Murder

It was 1:30 a.m. when Cornellias Simon, aka "Bean," burst through the door of the apartment. The tenant watched as Simon staggered for a moment, then collapsed onto the kitchen floor, dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.

That was the first surprise. The second was the man who briefly followed Simon into the apartment before fleeing. He was wearing a gorilla mask.

Other residents of the complex, located near the intersection of Jim Miller Road and Great Trinity Forest Boulevard in Southeast Dallas, confirmed the part about the man in the gorilla mask. They told police they'd seen him chasing Simon through the complex before shooting him with a handgun.

The mask served its intended purpose. Five months after the March 22 murder, police still had no information about who was inside. So, smart move on the killer's part.

Less intelligent was his decision to run into some nearby woods and emerge a short time later without the mask. A witness watched him get into a white car and drive away. A brief search of the woods by police turned up a dark thermal shirt, a Smith & Wesson pistol with a spent cartridge jammed in the ejector port, and the gorilla mask.

Two weeks ago, detectives received the results of DNA tests performed on the shirt, mask and weapon. Results from the shirt and mask clearly pointed to Deandre Jamon Bowen, 32, as the wearer. That, combined with the presence of his DNA on the gun, was enough to convince police that he had killed Simon.

Suspect identified, police are now turning their attention to actually finding Bowen, who has not yet been arrested. So, keep your eyes peeled and remember: He no longer has the gorilla mask.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson