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Murder of Sandra Francis by Lee Perkins examined on ID

Police tape

Investigation Discovery is examing the horrific rape and murder of single mother Sandra Francis, who was killed in her Boston, MA, apartment in 1990.

The case lay cold for many years until cold case detectives tracked down Lee Perkins and used groundbreaking DNA sampling to bring him to justice.

On March 25, 1990, the family of 19-year-old Sandra Francis became concerned when they hadn’t heard from her in a few days, and she hadn’t picked up her son from her parent’s house. When an uncle received no answer at her apartment, he telephoned the police.

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A police officer found Francis lying on the floor of her apartment with a steak knife sticking out of her chest. She was naked from the waist down and had been raped.

There was no sign of forced entry, and no fingerprints were left behind. There was no evidence of anything being stolen, which ruled out robbery as a motive.

DNA testing ruled out the father of her child and her former roommate’s fiance as the killer. However, the former roommate did tell the police about a man Francis had met a few months previously when he offered to help carry her groceries home. This man was Lee Perkins.

Lee Perkins was identified by Francis’s roommate

According to the roommate, Perkins had visited the apartment, uninvited, on several occasions since their first encounter. And on at least one of those visits, he had made Francis nervous enough to call on her roommate for help.

The police searched for Perkins but could not locate him until a cold case squad finally found the killer in 1996. During their initial interview, Perkins smoked two cigarettes, which the detectives then swabbed for DNA, which came back as a match.

The following year, the cops were able to take a blood sample from Perkins, which gave them a clearer match of his DNA to the killer.

In 2000, ten years after he brutally murdered Sandra Francis, Perkins was found guilty of premeditated murder and was placed behind bars.

In 2008, Perkins demanded a new trial, mainly on the basis that during his trial, he had been under medication, which prevented him from assisting in his own defense. A judge refused his appeal, and he remains in jail.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on ID.

Orlando Smith shot his wife, Demetra Smith, execution-style at their Atlanta, GA, home in 2010. He then drove to his daughter’s home, where he asked her to help him cover-up the crime.

Randy Whitacre burst into the Dalessio home in Plumville, Pennsylvania, with a shotgun and blasted Theresa Dalessio as her husband hid under the bed. Whitacre then turned the gun on their toddler son.

True Conviction airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry Brown


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