DNA can exonerate, but it can also convict, so Brooklyn’s Roger Williams, 48, and Louis Slaughter, 60, must be sweating: They are charged with the 1986 murder of millionaire plumber Samuel Quentzel based on DNA evidence from old cigarette butts. The butts were found in a van that Nassau County investigators discovered on fire after the murder, along with Quentzel’s checkbook. The man cops think did the actual shooting, Clifton Waters, was himself shot dead shortly after the hit, but the district attorney says Williams and Slaughter — 25 and 37 years old at the time, and described as career criminals — were “absolutely” in on it.
The crime has baffled authorities for years, with leads coming and going, but the family has been energetic about pursuing it, and recent advances in DNA technology made it possible to link names to the butts.
The accused men have refused to enter pleas and want to represent themselves; the judge has assigned counsel and will consider their pro se wishes at a later date.