Cold Case Task Force cracks 19-year-old homicide; murder charges filed in connection with 1989 death of Ana Sanders

February 6

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes announce that an investigation by their combined Cold Case Task Force has resulted in the filing of murder charges against a former Joliet man in connection with the 1989 stabbing death of a 54-year-old woman.

Terrance Cole, 37, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon. He is accused of stabbing Ana L. Sanders to death in her apartment at 1013 Lois Place.

The victim’s body was discovered on April 11, 1989 by an apartment maintenance worker who was asked to conduct a wellness check on the tenant after she did not show up for work. Sanders, who suffered multiple stab wounds, was found on the living room floor of her third-floor apartment.

Cole already was in the Will County Jail Wednesday awaiting trial on charges stemming from a 2005 home invasion when State’s Attorney Glasgow filed murder charges against him. Prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant with a $1 million bond on the murder charges.

The Cold Case Task Force linked Cole to Sanders’ murder through DNA evidence collected at the crime scene back in 1989. The task force is investigating unsolved murders, some of which date back decades when the technology to analyze DNA evidence did not exist.

The Cold Case Task Force, a partnership between the Joliet Police Department and the Will County State’s Attorney’s office, was established in 2005 through a $455,000 federal grant from the National Institute of Justice. The grant provides funding for DNA testing and for the Joliet Police Department to pay investigators and evidence technicians overtime to review unsolved cases. It also provides funding for an assistant state’s attorney and a victim advocate. 

“I’ve worked with our local police for more than two decades, and I know the dedicated detectives who investigate brutal homicides refuse to accept the possibility that a violent murderer will never be caught,” Glasgow said. “The Cold Case Task has enabled us to turn up the heat in this case, and we were able to link Terrance Cole to the murder of Ana Sanders.”

Chief Hayes stated: “In spite of the fact that 19 years have passed since his horrific crime, the Joliet Police Department remained vigilant and committed to solving this case. The advancement in DNA technology continues to enable law enforcement to solve some of the most violent crimes and bring the offenders to justice. The Cold Case Task Force is extremely successful with their mission. The outstanding investigative work performed by Joliet Police Detective Phil Valera working closing with Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Fitzgerald played a vital role in the arrest of this offender.”

The Cold Case Task Force last year also connected Cole to a violent home invasion that occurred on June 12, 2005. Cole is accused of beating an elderly couple after sneaking through the open overhead door of their attached garage on Joliet’s West Side.

The Task Force linked Cole to the home invasion through DNA samples taken from a beer can that was found inside the house. The sample was matched to Cole when it was entered into the Combined DNA Index System. Cole gave a DNA sample when he entered the prison system.

Cole had been serving time at Dixon Correctional Center last year for a battery to a police officer and possession of controlled substance in an unrelated case when Glasgow filed the home invasion charges against him in June 2007.

Joliet detectives drove to Dixon on July 2, 2007 and arrested Cole on the home invasion charge shortly before he was scheduled to be released from the prison. The Joliet detectives immediately transported Cole to the Will County Jail on a warrant with $300,000 bond.

Home invasion is a Class X felony that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison upon conviction. Probation is not a sentencing option.

Joliet Detectives Carlos Matlock, Phil Valera and Dave Jackson investigated the home invasion and murder cases. Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Fitzgerald reviewed the murder case and consulted with Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Delaney and Joliet detectives prior to charging.

Last year, the task force also solved the 1994 murder of Linda Dooley, who was found shot to death in her car outside a hotel parking lot in Joliet. This murder happened in broad daylight shortly after she had left a local department store. DNA evidence collected at the scene linked a drifter, Percy E. Cooksey III, to the crime.

When that case was solved, Cooksey already had died in a Missouri prison while serving time for an unrelated crime. The resolution of this case, however, was critical because it brought closure to Linda Dooley’s family and assurances to the community that a violent killer no longer was at large.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.