SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY (CBSLA.com) — A 59-year-old man was sentenced to prison Thursday in the cold case murder of a man in Victorville.
According to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, Gary Bell, of Tennessee, was ordered to spend 25 years to life in state prison for murdering 24-year-old Louis Horner.
Horner was found fatally shot on the side of Hodge Road outside of Victorville in May 2000, according to police.
His vehicle was abandoned, and was later located in San Bernardino.
A preliminary investigation revealed Bell was a known associate to Horner at the time of the incident.
Officials said he denied any involvement in the murder.
However, in 2014, detectives located Bell in Tennessee and obtained a DNA sample along with his admission of being with Horner in the vehicle.
Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, who is assigned to the Cold Case Unit, explained a cigarette butt in the vehicle was found years later, during a fresh look into the case.
“Thanks to advances in DNA technology, and the work of the Sheriff’s Department, we were able to match Mr. Bell’s DNA to the cigarette butt as well as his fingerprints,” Yoakum said.
Jurors subsequently found Bell guilty of murder in March.
According to a friend of the victim, Horner was survived by his son, father and brother.