An ex-con who was just busted in the 1996 cold-case murder of a pregnant woman in her Bronx home is being eyed as a possible serial killer, according to the detective who cracked the case.
Cops on Monday charged Gregory Fleetwood, 66, in the strangling death of 36-year-old Jasmine Porter after a longshot test on her fingernails found a match to the alleged killer’s DNA – and now they are looking at the possibility he may be behind other unsolved cases, said Bronx homicide Detective Robert Klein on Tuesday.
“I definitely have started looking through our old homicide logs and looking at strangled females,” Klein said. “There are a couple more cases on the radar that I think, you know, sort of fit the early sort of elements of something that he might have been involved in, but it’s very early for that. It’s a lot to look at, but … I’m definitely going to get started on it soon.”
Cops also may recheck sex-assault kits in unsolved “stranger rape” cases, said the seven-year homicide detective.
Fleetwood’s arrest came 26 years after Porter was attacked in her kitchen Feb. 5, 1996, with her then-5-year-old son telling officers he saw a naked man sitting on top of his mother as she called out for help.
“And [the child] stated that he tried to help her, but she was too heavy and that the man yelled at him to get away,” the detective said.
Porter was later found unconscious with neck trauma and died, cops said.
About nine years earlier, Fleetwood had been charged with strangling a woman he knew in The Bronx. He was convicted and did seven years behind bars in that case, cops said.
In Porter’s case, Klein said, he grew hopeful he was close to a break in recent years when a prison inmate claimed to have information on the murder. But the tip turned out to be a dead end.
As the dogged detective continued to review the cold case last year, he then realized the victim’s fingernail scrapings and clippings had been saved — but never tested.
“I knew that there was a high probability that there would be the suspect’s DNA under those nails,” Klein said. “First step was to obviously find that evidence, which can sometimes be tricky. But in my efforts to reach out to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the people over there, they actually were able to find it. It took a while, but they found it.”
The testing process took much of 2021 while cops continued to search out witnesses, he added.
“When the DNA came back, I got the name Gregory Fleetwood and started digging into his past, where he lived and stuff that he had been arrested and convicted of — it all started to make sense,” Klein said.
Fleetwood’s criminal past included the 1987 manslaughter charge and eventual conviction in the strangling of a woman he knew in The Bronx.
When cops finally booked Fleetwood over Porter’s death, he claimed the DNA fingernail test was a mistake, according to the detective.
“He basically denied ever having known the victim, ever having interacted with her and said that if for some reason his DNA was on her, that’s a mistake that we made,” Klein said.
The cop said he “couldn’t think of anything that’s more gratifying” than making an arrest in the decades-old case and telling the long-grieving family that Porter’s killer had been nabbed.
“I think ‘cold case’ gets thrown around a lot, like reality TV, but for families like the Porters, this was never cold,” Klein said. “Every birthday, every holiday, you know, every anniversary of her death and every milestone with the son.
“To be able to make that phone call and let them know that — almost 30 years later — we got him, justice is at least on its way to being served, is sort of the pinnacle of my police career,” Klein said.