Key witness tracked down in 1994 Madison murder - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Key witness tracked down in 1994 Madison murder

MADISON (WKOW) -- Authorities said a Madison Police Department cold case unit tracked down a witness who had gone into hiding years ago, leading to a murder charge in the 1994 killing of 34-year-old Dorothy Paige.

A criminal complaint was filed Friday against Melvin Parker, 48, who was serving prison time for burglary and theft convictions and is currently listed as being in a secure, state mental health facility.

The complaint states Parker's wife, Michelle Parker, told authorities in 1998 Melvin Parker had confessed to her he killed Paige. Authorities said Michelle Parker also stated her husband had argued with her and Paige in the hours before the killing.

Authorities said Michelle Parker disappeared later in 1998, leading the district attorney to dismiss charges that had been filed against her husband.

The complaint states Michelle Parker was located and reinterviewed last month, and Parker again alleged her husband confessed the killing to her. Parker also stated she had seen her husband cut Paige with a knife shortly before his confession. 

Madison police captain Jay Langfeld said his familiarity with Paige's 1994 killing led him to recommend her case be considered as the first case to be reviewed by the department's cold case review team (CCRT). The team was created last year.

Langfeld said the team uses a nine-point scale of assessment to give cold cases a score of probability of being solved, to help determine if the team will actively investigate a cold case.

Police chief Noble Wray said the 2008 murder of UW student Brittany Zimmermann would not qualify for review by the CCRT because it remains classified as an active case, with two detectives assigned to it full-time.

Authorities said before the 1994 homicide, there had been friction between Paige and Melvin Patterson over drug activity. 

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