Whoever killed Lottie Mae Webb 15 years ago was cut on a window while breaking into her west Charlotte home and left blood stains on the refrigerator, on the kitchen floor, on hallway walls and in the bathroom before stabbing the 68-year-old woman in her bed.
Webb’s death on Jan. 7, 2000, remained unsolved, as investigators were unable to determine who left that trail of blood.
On Thursday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced it had charged Gary Hames, 57, in the killing at a duplex on Ridge Avenue, off West Boulevard.
Police had received a call to check on Webb from concerned neighbors who hadn’t seen her all day and were suspicious of the broken window.
After finding Webb’s body, police collected DNA evidence from the home but couldn’t find a suspect because of technological limitations, said homicide Capt. Cecil Brisbon.
Police reopened the case in 2013, and on Thursday announced murder, armed robbery and felony breaking and entering charges against Hames.
“The evidence was always there in the home,” Brisbon said. “There are some capabilities now that weren’t there years ago.”
The DNA profile from the blood collected at Webb’s home matched that of Hames’, according to the warrant filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.
Hames was served the warrants at Green Correctional Institution in Maury in Eastern North Carolina, where he is serving time for habitual breaking and entering. He’s been arrested 46 times in Mecklenburg County for various offenses, police said.
Michael Hames, the suspect’s brother, said Gary Hames dated Webb’s daughter and they all loved to party at Webb’s home.
Michael Hames, of Charlotte, told the Observer that he believes police have charged the wrong person.
Michael Hames didn’t like that his brother used his name when arrested for various offenses over the years. The search warrant in the murder case, for instance, lists the suspect as Michael O’Neal Hames.
But Michael Hames, who is 62, said despite his brother’s troubles with the law, he would never have done anything to harm Webb.
“I don’t believe my brother would have done this,” Michael Hames said.
The CMPD Homicide Cold Case Unit has reviewed 143 cases since it began in 2008. Of those cases, 40 have been cleared and 25 of those were cleared by arrest, police said Thursday.