Luke Fleming

Luke Edward Fleming was arrested on September 19, 2018, and charged in the March 29, 1999 rape and murder of 47-year-old Deborah Dalzell in Sarasota, Florida. An accountant and attorney, Dalzell was raped and murdered by an assailant who broke into her home. Dalzell had been battered, gaged with a sock, and strangled with a T-shirt. Her head was submerged in the tub in the master bedroom, with the water left running. Blood and semen were collected at the scene.

DNA samples from semen collected during her autopsy were used to create a DNA profile of the suspect. The FIGG investigation was conducted by Parabon, followed by Barabara Rae-Venter. The initial confirmation of the match was made through one of Fleming’s children.

Fleming was convicted after a jury trial in February of 2020. He admitted that the DNA evidence was correct but claimed that the sex was consensual. He testified in his own defence, stating that he had consensual sexual relations with Dalzell in his car after having met her at a bar that evening. Dalzell’s sister testified that she had spoken to Dalzell that evening, and that she was tired and was at home working on her sister’s taxes.

One of the jurors on this case testified that they did not believe Fleming’s defence, stating to Christ Anderson that, “There was no question about it,” the juror said. “Even he said it was his.”


Anderson, Chris. “Inside the Jury of Luke Fleming’s Murder Trial.” St. Augustine Record, March 2, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Fleming v. State of Florida. Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Florida Second District Court of Appeal. In the Supreme Court of the United States. n.d.

Hurtado, Daniela, Rebecca Fernandez, and ABC 7 Staff. “Luke Fleming Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder, Sexual Battery in Sarasota Cold Case.” WWSB ABC 7 News, February 27, 2020.

Munoz, Carlos R. “DNA Experts Testify in Luke Fleming Sarasota Murder Trial.” USA Today, 26 February 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Munoz, Carlos R. “Jury Finds Luke Fleming Guilty of 1999 Sarasota Murder.” Herald Tribune, February 27, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Munoz, Carlos R. “New DNA Technology Solves 1999 Murder of Florida Woman.” Palm Beach Post, September 20, 2018. Accessed December 15, 2020.–regional/new-dna-technology-solves-1999-murder-florida-woman/26VWFjjBRF86VtuxUlV9HP/.


First Name Luke
Last Name Fleming
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2018-09-00
Case Cleared 2018-09-19
IGG Org Barbara Rae-Venter; Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1111 Deborah Dalzell 47 1999-03-29 Sarasota, FL Sarasota CSO First degree murder Accused was convicted after a trial Sarasota CO CIR CRIM CT

Last updated: February 13, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.