Michigan Man Already Serving Life Charged in Florida Teen’s 1985 Murder
A 1985 Christmas Eve murder of a 17-year-old college student in Florida has finally been solved.
An unimaginable and brutal crime has finally been solved. Jacksonville Florida Sheriff's Chief T.K. Waters made the announcement during a news conference late Thursday. 59-year-old David Nelson Austin has been charged with first-degree murder, armed kidnapping, and sexual battery in the 1985 death of 17-year-old Leslie McCray.
Cold case investigators interviewed Austin in April. That interview led to additional tests to confirm the DNA match using modern technology. Austin is currently serving two life sentences in prison in Michigan on sexual assault charges, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections. He had not previously been a suspect in the case and investigators say that Austin had only lived in Jacksonville, Florida for a short time.
At the time Leslie was killed on December 24, 1985, she lived in an apartment and was attending college. During the night, Leslie's boyfriend awoke to a man kneeling next to the bed with a knife. The man tied Leslie and her boyfriend up. Leslie was then taken against her will out of the apartment.
Leslie's boyfriend managed to break free from the constraints and contacted authorities to report the incident. Leslie's body was found about three hours later, nude on the side of a road, roughly five miles from her home.
In 2019, Leslie’s family reached out to the Jacksonville County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit and Project Cold Case to request a re-examination of the evidence. The family had never given up their pursuit of justice.
Florida authorities are now seeking to extradite Austin from Michigan. Austin is currently serving two life sentences for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree from 1988 at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.
See the Jacksonville Sheriff's announcement below