How Gloria Pointer's Murder Was Solved After 30 Years

In 1984, Gloria Pointer's body was found in an east Cleveland alleyway. The 14-year-old girl was raped and murdered while walking to school, according to Cleveland-based news outlet WKYC. On December 6, at around 10.30 a.m., her body was found by a custodian in a fire escape stairwell. Few clues were found as to who killed the young girl, save for some DNA evidence gathered from the young girl's clothing. Though the case would go cold, that DNA evidence would help catch Pointer's killer some three decades later, as Cleveland 19 reports.

Compounding the tragedy, Pointer was set to receive a school award on that day for perfect attendance, per the website of the murdered girl's mother, Yvonne Pointer. Gloria attended Harry E. Davis Junior High School, and she had made arrangements to meet with a friend before heading to class. The principal of Gloria's school contacted her mother when she failed to show up. 

Witnesses saw a black male follow Gloria Pointer

As Yvonne Pointer also notes on her website, several eyewitnesses on the day that her daughter was killed described a Black male following the girl. Those witnesses even provided police with details about what that man was wearing. The man was then seen grabbing Gloria's arm as they disappeared down an alleyway near where Gloria's body was discovered. Try as they might police were unable to identify who that man was, though.

Over the span of 30 years, the investigation into Pointer's death went from Cleveland city police all the way up to the FBI, to no avail. In the years intervening, DNA technology improved, and those samples recovered from Gloria's clothing finally provided a clue as to who was responsible for killing her. And, as it turned out, the man guilty of the crime had already spent 16 years in prison on a rape conviction, as Cleveland reports.

Gloria Pointer's killer confessed to the crime

Because the man who would admit to killing Gloria Pointer had already spent time in prison, his DNA record was on file. That DNA matched what was found on Pointer's clothing when she died. Those DNA samples matched a man named Hernandez Warren, who went on to confess to the 1984 killing of Pointer. Hernandez would later unsuccessfully attempt to have his confession thrown out, on the basis that there was no lawyer present at the time the confession took place, as Cleveland 19 reports.

Nonetheless, Warren pleaded guilty to killing Pointer, and received up to 25 years in prison for the rape, and a life sentence behind bars for the murder, according to WKYC. In his confession, Warren said (via Cleveland) "I killed her, but why and how, I don't know." He was also reportedly on drugs at the time the murder and rape took place. Warren is eligible for parole until 2043, and he reportedly apologized to Pointer's family in the courtroom. With Gloria Pointer's murder finally brought to justice, her mother, Yvonne Porter also said (via Cleveland) "She was more than just the way she died ... She was loved by her family.”