DA, cops work to assemble new Cold Case Squad

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley will be assigning a prosecutor to a unit the Boston Police Department is assembling to look into old unsolved murder cases, he said last week.

Conley said he recently met with Police Commissioner Ed Davis and is "very supportive" of the resurrection of a "cold case" squad.

"This opportunity to look back and solve some of the cases, give some families comfort. I'm very supportive of that," he told the Reporter.

Conley's office has 125 full-time prosecutors split between nine district courts and the Superior Court, according to Conley spokesman Jake Wark.

For his part, Davis said the squad will be fully assembled "within the next month."

Police officials have already been assigned to the squad, and they are now in the process of assigning a supervisor to the unit, Davis said.

"Hasn't happened yet; once it does, we expect the unit to be functional," Davis said while attending Mayor Thomas Menino's annual speech to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. "Right now they're starting to reach out to families of past homicides and doing a little bit of their homework on cases that have been out there for a long time and still have leads."

Davis declined to go into any further detail, as did a police spokesman.

A post to the cold case squad is considered a difficult assignment, since the chances of solving homicides diminish 72 hours following the murder due to potential evidence and trails falling apart. But technology has improved over the last several years, with advancements in DNA testing and other forensics.

For a time in the 1990s, Boston had an acclaimed cold case squad before it was quietly phased out of existence. Victims' families groups have long asked for a revival of the squad.