HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A 64-year-old man has been arrested in the killing of a Lone Tree man in 1985, authorities announced Friday.
Michael Jefferson faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and kidnapping in the death of Roger Dean, who was 51 when he died on Nov. 21, 1985.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Dean was apparently being robbed at his home when he was killed during a scuffle inside the home. Dean was shot five times and died en route to a hospital.
Spurlock said investigators used genetic genealogy DNA testing connect evidence from the crime scene to Jefferson, who was arrested in Los Angeles and extradited to the Douglas County jail. Jefferson lives in New Orleans, Spurlock said.
Dean lived in Lone Tree with his wife and children, Spurlock said.
An arrest warrant affidavit released Friday described a masked suspect entering the Dean home and forcing Roger Dean to put duct tape over his wife’s eyes and tie her up. When Roger Dean asked the suspect if he was going to hurt them, the suspect replied, “Not if you do what I want,” the affidavit said.
The suspect then asked the Deans how much money they had in their checking account and they told him $30,000. Roger Dean’s wife then heard two gunshots and heard her husband yelling, “I’ll give you the god d— thirty thousand.” Roger Dean’s wife heard another scream and more gunshots.
The suspect fled but investigators recovered his ski mask inside the Dean’s home. This past year, genetic genealogy experts were able to tie DNA from the ski mask to Jefferson.
A separate but possibly related case in the Dean incident happened in 1990, when the Dean family received an extortion letter from someone claiming to be a contract killer and claiming to be involved in Roger Dean’s death.
The letter said, in part: “On a cold snowy morning in Nov. of 85 I had your husband Roger murdered. At this point you are probably frighten, and hoping this is some kind of joke. Well you should be frighten be cause this is NO JOKE!! To prove to you who I am, I will recount some of the events that took place that morning …”
The letter then provided details about Roger Dean’s murder, claiming “I took off my ski mask so Roger would know who killed him and why.”
The letter demanded $150,000, claiming Roger Dean owed the money when he died. Follow-up letters were sent to the Dean family several more times in 1990. The mailed letters also contained cassette tapes, and investigators said the voice on the tapes was similar to the voice of Michael Jefferson, according to the affidavit, giving one investigator “a strong belief” that Jefferson was involved in the extortion case.
Sheriff investigators worked on the case with Metro Denver Crime Stoppers and United Data Connect, a group headed by former Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey that specializes in genetic genealogy.