Courts & Crime

DNA led police to suspect in beating death of S. Carolina minister

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The grown children of a slain Columbia minister wept Friday at news that a suspect had been arrested in the killing of their 87-year-old father, who was attacked last year in his home.

Frankie Lee McGee, 44, faces murder and first-degree burglary charges in the beating death of the Rev. Tryon Eichelberger, authorities announced Friday.

Eichelberger died last July, nearly three months after police found him lying on his kitchen floor with a large head wound. He had been beaten with a 6-pound metal tool.

Investigators identified McGee, a convicted burglar with an extensive criminal record, as the suspect by using special DNA tests that linked him to the crime scene on Isaac Street in north Columbia, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.

After a news conference Friday at the Columbia Police Department, family members said they never gave up hope police would find a suspect. But they acknowledged that they had been plagued by uncertainty for nearly a year.

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