Danville man extradited to Colorado to face charges in 1994 homicide

Southside Virginia News

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — A Danville man has been extradited to Colorado to face murder charges in connection with a cold case from 1994.

According to officials, 58-year-old Steven Cumberbatch was extradited from Virginia to Colorado in connection with the murder of Rita Desjardine, whose body was found in a Denver motel room on Dec. 7, 1994.

The District Attorney’s Office in Denver says the Denver Police Department’s Crime lab got a lead connecting Cumberbatch to DNA evidence at the scene in 2018. In addition, a witness reportedly saw a man matching Cumberbatch’s description leaving the motel room before Desjardine’s body was found.

More research — as well as a $500,000 grant awarded by the National Institute of Justice in 2019 to help Denver law enforcement and prosecutors solve violent crime cold cases in which suspects have been identified but prosecutors have not been able to file charges — led to authorities filing two charges of first-degree murder against Cumberbatch.

“Violent crime cold cases are among the most challenging of all cases,” said Denver DA Beth McCann. “This federal funding was key to building the case that led to charging Steven Cumberbatch with the murder of Rita Desjardine.”

“I am proud of the collaboration between the Cold Case Units of DPD and the DA’s Office and the DPD Crime Laboratory that this grant is enabling,” said Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen. “The work being done under this grant is innovative and important for our community.”

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