Judge denies bail for 1988 Portland cold case murder suspect - KPTV - FOX 12

Judge denies bail for 1988 Portland cold case murder suspect

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Walter Howard, jail booking photo Walter Howard, jail booking photo
Renee Harvey Renee Harvey

The man charged with killing an aspiring actress in Portland in 1988 will remain in the Multnomah County Jail.

Multnomah County Judge Kelly Skye denied bail for Walter Wayne Howard on Thursday morning, concluding the evidence in the case is strong enough to keep him behind bars while awaiting trial.

Howard, now 60 years old, is charged with the murder of Renee Harvey, who had moved to Portland from Montana to pursue an acting career. She was a secretary for the Oregon Special Olympics.

The 25-year-old was found dead in her Buckman neighborhood apartment on Jan. 15, 1988, a few days after her apartment was burglarized.

Harvey believed her neighbor, Howard, had broken into her apartment.

The original investigators suspected Howard was involved in the murder, but did not have enough evidence to arrest him at the time.

FOX 12 profiled the search for Harvey’s killer in 2012

Cold case detectives arrested Howard in San Diego last year.

"In Mr. Howard’s case, he’s managed to go decades because he did it behind closed doors and because the science wasn't available in 1988," said prosecutor Brian Davidson. 

During Thursday’s bail hearing, Detective Meredith Hopper said investigators submitted evidence for DNA testing in 2012 and got a hit in 2013.  

She said tests determined Howard's DNA was found on a pair of bloody pink underwear tucked into Harvey’s waistband and on a bloody white pillowcase found two to three feet from her body.

Detectives said Harvey was wearing another pair of underwear. There was no evidence Harvey was sexually assaulted, according to investigators.

Howard's defense attorney argued the evidence and the prosecution's theories about the motive for the killing were not enough to deny his client bail, but the judge disagreed.

Howard's trial is set to begin February 22.

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