Thanks to a fingerprint, Temple police were able to close a case in which a house was burglarized and covered in gasoline over a year ago. Police said the back door of the home on Katie Street in Temple had been forced open.

The attempt to set the house on fire was not successful. 

“We also found a heating pad that was laid out so we knew it was an attempted arson case,” said Temple Police Lt. Jim Hollywood. “We were able to take a fingerprint from a liquor bottle that had been left at the scene by the suspect.”

Police sent the fingerprint to the GBI Crime Lab to see if there was a match to a person who was already in the system. The print came back positive for a person who has a record.

“The suspect's name is John Dodson and he actually lived across the house that he had burglarized at the time," Hollywood said. "He just found an opportunity when his neighbor was gone. We plan for a grand jury indictment so he can be charged.”

Dodson's records show he has had multiple charges for criminal offense and burglary, all in Carroll County.

“It is a good feeling when we are able to extract a fingerprint and find a match, but it just does not happen has quick as it does in the movies because unfortunately not every police department has their own crime lab,” Hollywood said. “Unfortunately, as interesting as crime shows are with their ability to match DNA in 20 minutes, it does not happen.”

Hollywood said that the movies and shows people watch about crime labs give people a false sense of what police do and how long it really takes. Hollywood said that he knows from experience that a DNA profile can sometimes take over a year to come back.

“Remember that the crime lab in Decatur is receiving evidence daily, from all over the state,” said Hollywood. “They have to prioritize how quick they do things so many times we are on hold because of the process of the crime lab and some people believe that we are not doing anything, but we are waiting to hear back. So when we found out that we found our suspect, you could say we were pretty ecstatic.”


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