California murder suspect arrested in two cases decades old

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 21:22:46-04

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — A 76-year-old Solano County man has been arrested in connection to two cold case homicides that date back decades. Investigators say the man’s DNA matched samples collected in the murders of two women and a sex crime just last year.

The mug shot of a 76-year-old man accused of murdering two women and sexually assaulting another over the course of four decades. James Gary is a recent widower and a retired carpenter living off a union pension.

His alleged secret predatory life just became public after DNA in a sex crime in the North Bay matched two unsolved murder cases in 1980 and 1996. Giving detectives a new witness and new lead.

The break in the case came when investigators began following Gary seeking a DNA sample. And he happened to get pulled over for suspected DUI.

“The spout from the breathalyzer essentially was collected and sent into DOJ and ultimately that was our main piece that was able to connect them,” said a representative of the Solano County Sheriff's Department.

Gary was not arrested for DUI that day but the stop gave investigators the chance encounter they needed.

“Absolutely it was. I hate to believe in luck in these types of things but it was absolutely a nice lucky break that the circumstances presented themselves,” said the SCSD.

Detectives say Gary strangled Latrelle Lindsay in 1980 in Union City. And also killed Winifred Douglas in 1996 in Vallejo the same way. Gary's alleged 2021 victim survived a sexual assault.

“I’ll just say that it takes that it takes a very unique individual that would be doing these crimes even to this age and this day,” said the SCSD.

A life of violent crime without a single felony charge. Until DNA evidence led to this arrest.