Cold Justice continued on Oxygen this week (new episodes Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and produced by Magical Elves) by providing true crime fans with some closure on the death of a beloved Mississippi woman.
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Cold Justice; if you missed it, you can view it on Oxygen on Demand or Oxygen.com.
In “A Touch of Evidence,” Kelly Siegler and Tonya Rider investigated the 1998 murder of Leola Jordan—a beloved figure in her community of Picayune who had been stabbed more than three dozen times in her home. Leola’s granddaughter was desperate for someone to solve her grandma’s case.
Suspicion fell on Leola’s grandson, Sergio Williams, who had lived in Leola’s home with his mother Wanda. Cold Justice zeroed in on Sergio early and unraveled his story, ultimately enabling Picayune officials to obtain a warrant for his arrest when they found DNA evidence and a motive for murder. Here are some of the most prominent observations from this episode:
1) DNA makes the difference
“A Touch of Evidence” takes its title from the fact that Cold Justice was able to find DNA evidence that led to an arrest. While testing the scrapings recovered from under Leola’s fingernails came up empty, the DNA of Sergio Williams was uncovered on the outside of her purse and that was the key piece of physical evidence that turned this case from cold to closed.
The show has spoken frequently about how advances in technology allow them to do more with cases than the original investigators were able to. That’s not a guarantee of success, but in Leola Jordan’s murder, the combination of DNA within the context of Sergio’s previous behavior allowed Picayune authorities to finally take him into custody almost a quarter-century after the murder. He was arrested in May and is still awaiting trial.
2) The impact of drug use
The true crime genre is full of stories that are motivated by or involve drugs, and “A Touch of Evidence” is another one of them. At the beginning of the episode, people struggled to comprehend how Sergio could commit such a violent act against his own family. But as the investigation went on, the audience learned that he was desperate to get money for crack cocaine and that pushed him over the edge.
Before returning to Leola’s house, Sergio had robbed two of his friends earlier in the evening to get money for his drug habit. That also explained why Leola’s purse had been gone through. He had no particular grudge against her and wasn’t a cold-blooded killer; he was just willing to do anything for a high, and it proved deadly.
3) Family matters
We saw two different sides of the same family story in this Cold Justice episode. On one side viewers saw the tragic and chilling tale of Sergio Williams, who apparently murdered his own grandmother, but on the other side there was Shanga Jordan, who campaigned tirelessly to get a resolution to the case.
Shanga, the daughter of Leola’s son Terry, had written numerous letters to everyone from law enforcement to the President of the United States asking for help solving the crime before Kelly and Tonya arrived in town. The local investigators also revealed that she would come to them once a year, asking if there had been any leads. As much as the answer was painful, there’s also something noble about how Shanga never gave up.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.