Crime & Courts

New York prison inmate charged in Charlotte woman’s 2004 killing

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged a New York prison inmate with murder in the 2004 death of a woman whose body was found in a car trunk in southeast Charlotte.

Mai Edwina Cooper, 29, was found dead on July 4, 2004, in a car trunk in the 1400 block of Delane Avenue, off North Sharon Amity Road.

Police at the time identified Anthony Aikens, now 49, as a person of interest in Cooper’s death.

Aikens had met with Cooper on June 23, 2004, and Cooper had not been seen since meeting Aikens, police said.

Homicide detectives interviewed Aikens but at the time lacked enough evidence to arrest him. Aikens went to New York shortly after the interview, police said.

CMPD’s Cold Case Unit recently submitted evidence from the case to the FBI for examination. Based on the evidence found and additional information, Aikens was confirmed as the suspect in Cooper’s death, police said Tuesday. Police are not saying what evidence and additional information led them to Aikens.

On Thursday, CMPD Cold Case Unit detectives traveled to Orleans Correctional Facility in New York, re-interviewed Aikens and charged him with murder and kidnapping in Cooper’s death. Aikens is in the New York prison on a first-degree manslaughter conviction.

CMPD’s Cold Case Unit has reviewed 158 cases since it began in 2008. Of those cases, 39 have been cleared and 28 of those were cleared by arrest.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak