In yet another cold case involving genetic genealogy, an Idaho man is now jailed in Alaska on charges he allegedly murdered a cab driver nearly 40 years ago.
Eric Lane Jones, 56, is accused in the May 1985 shooting death of Jawed Ahmed, 32, in Anchorage’s Muldoon neighborhood. Jones, originally from Sitka, was 19 at the time.
News reports from 1985 theorized Ahmed had been shot by a passenger in a botched robbery. His wife told the Anchorage Daily News that Ahmed, originally from Pakistan, had come to Alaska hoping to get a job working in the oil industry, but ended up driving for Yellow Cab.
According to a charging document, the man now thought to be Jones left some bloody clothing when he fled following the shooting. Though witnesses saw him and a police dog attempted to track him, the killer escaped.
The charges say a 2009 DNA test showed the blood belonged to someone other than Ahmed, but they still didn’t know who. Starting in 2020, using the newer technique of genetic genealogy — which generally involves building a genetic profile of a suspect to find family members in genealogy databases – the investigators narrowed in on Jones.
The charges say Jones had been living in Anchorage in 1985, matched witness descriptions and had been convicted of using the same caliber gun from the shooting in a separate domestic violence assault.
In 2021, investigators learned Jones was living in the area of Boise, Idaho. And in October, Idaho state police found him eating at a restaurant, after which undercover officers collected Jones’s discarded drink bottle and chopsticks, the charges say. That provided DNA that was a direct match to the bloody clothing, according to the charges.
The charges say Jones initially denied shooting Ahmed, but he later admitted shooting him twice, claiming that Ahmed had made sexual advances and started assaulting Jones.
Investigators wrote in the charges that several details from the crime scene seemed to disprove Jones’s story.
An Anchorage grand jury indicted Jones on Jan. 14. He’s jailed on $500,000 cash bail.