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Holyoke man charged in 1983 homicide case

State Police arrested and charged a Holyoke man last night with a 1983 slaying, moving to close an investigation that had been open for 28 years.

The Middlesex district attorney’s office said Shawn Marsh, 46, of Holyoke, had been indicted by a Middlesex grand jury and arrested by State Police in connection with the homicide after evidence against him emerged through new fingerprint testing technology.

Marsh will be arraigned tomorrow at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.

The case dates to Aug. 22, 1983, when Malden police, responding to reports of gunshots, found Rodney Wyman, of Simsbury, Conn., suffering from a gunshot wound at the Town Line Motel in Malden.

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Wyman was rushed to Malden Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities said an immediate investigation into the case yielded no arrests at the time because of a lack of evidence.

Recently, State Police investigators working within the district attorney’s office as part of its unsolved homicides program were able to identify the fingerprints using modern fingerprinting technology.

The technology, including a national fingerprint identification database, had not been developed at the time of the homicide. The system was launched by the FBI in 1999 and contains the fingerprints, criminal history, and physical description of more than 66 million criminal subjects. It is the largest biometric database in the world.

“This arrest is a terrific example of the beneficial advances in criminal forensic technology that have now helped solve a 28-year-old homicide,’’ Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said in a statement. “I commend the dedication of the investigators who worked tirelessly and explored every avenue in the hopes of seeking justice against those responsible for the fatal shooting of Rodney Wyman.’’

Leone initiated the unsolved homicide program in Middlesex County after taking office in 2007 to put a renewed focus on old cases and seek to bring their perpetrators to justice.

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Authorities alleged that the defendant and another suspect, who has yet to be identified, shot Wyman after breaking into his hotel room with the intention of robbing him.

Massachusetts State Police from Hampden County and the Holyoke Police Department assisted in the arrest.


Martha Shanahan can be reached at martha.shanahan@globe.com.