Awaiting trial in Texas, 1983 murder suspect coming home to Lakeville, Minn.

- In August of 2014, Fox 9 broke the story of a Lakeville, Minn. man arrested for a deadly stabbing in Texas more than 30 years ago. Robert Otteson, 55, was charged with first-degree murder and has spent that last 14 months in a Denton County, Texas jail cell, awaiting a trial that was scheduled to begin next week.

But Monday morning, Otteson was released from jail, and he didn’t post a single penny of bail.

Trial delayed for DNA analysis

The trial is on hold while the district attorney’s office waits for updated instructions on how to handle cases involving mixed DNA samples. Earlier this year, the FBI notified crime labs across the country of possible issues involving DNA match calculations in mixed DNA samples. That means the DNA samples collected in Otteson’s case must be re-analyzed before the evidence is used in a trial.

The case

Otteson was indicted for the murder of 42-year-old Francisco Narvaez, who was stabbed to death in September of 1983 in a Denton, Texas hotel room.

For years, all police had to go on was a sketch. But in 2014, police took a shirt out of the Otteson family’s garbage, and a new DNA sample from that shirt was compared to an old DNA sample that had been secured by police from the original crime scene. It was a match, and police made the arrest.

Living quietly in Lakeville

Since the mid-1990s, Robert Otteson has lived in Minnesota with his wife and two children, working as a mechanic at Northwest Airlines and later at Cemstone Products and Xcel Energy. As far as neighbors know, his wife and children had no idea.

Road trip

Otteson was released from jail on a $300,000 personal recognizance bond Monday morning, meaning he didn’t have to post any actual money. He was picked up in Texas by his brother, and the two started the long drive back to Minnesota.

Under the conditions of his release, Otteson must remain in Dakota County and will wear an electronic monitoring device. He must also check-in by phone each week with a Denton County probation officer.


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