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33 Year-Old Cold Case Homicide Solved; One Relative Innocent, Another Guilty, Authorities Say

Christopher Joseph Larry Speelman.
Christopher Joseph Larry Speelman. Photo Credit: Facebook

DNA evidence and a confession have led to an arrest in a brutal homicide cold case committed 33 years ago.

Christopher Joseph Larry Speelman, 58, New Oxford, confessed at the Gettysburg State Police barracks on July 27 to the murder of Edna Laughman, 85, of Oxford Township over three decades earlier.

Laughman was raped and murdered in her home located on 1500 block of Carlisle Pike on Aug. 13, 1987.

Her nephew Barry Laughman falsely confessed to killing her-- spending 16 years behind bars, but DNA evidence in 2003 exonerated them.

A new test was conducted on the attackers DNA in 2018, pointing to Speelman who was 24-years-old at the time.

Speelman had lived with Edna for 10 years prior to her death and is related to her through his parents, according to State Police.

Speelman agreed to provide a sample in May of 2021 and it was a match.

"The investigation revealed that he indicated he went into her home to steal from Edna, that she was home when he was there, that he attacked her, that he overcame her and that he suffocated her and killed her, and then sexually assaulted her," Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett said.

He has been charged with the following:

  • Criminal Homicide
  • F1 Rape Forcible Compulsion
  • F1 Robbery-Inflict Serious Bodily Injury
  • F1 Burglary

Speelman has been denied bail and is being held in the Adams County Prison.

His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 4 at 11 a.m.

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