Metro-East News

DNA testing ordered in death of East St. Louis woman

Reginae Cotton was 51 when she died on May 28. Police believe she was suffocated in East St. Louis by a man who has been charged with killing her.
Reginae Cotton was 51 when she died on May 28. Police believe she was suffocated in East St. Louis by a man who has been charged with killing her.

DNA testing is set to take place in the murder case of a 56-year-old man was accused of suffocating a woman with a pillow in East St. Louis.

Cornelius Miller, of Florissant, Mo., was charged with first-degree murder in June after Illinois State Police investigated the death of Reginae Cotton. Cotton was 51 when she died earlier this year on May 28, according to her obituary. Cotton’s body was found in a room of the Western Inn motel in East St. Louis, KTVI had reported in June.

A court order was filed this week to allow a state forensic science laboratory to conduct DNA testing on a swab from nail clippings police gathered as evidence from the crime scene. Defense attorneys for Miller did not object to the testing and have the option to hire their own expert to review the crime lab’s findings, the judge wrote. The order was signed by St. Clair County Judge Randall Kelley on Wednesday.

Illinois State Police arrested Miller in connection with Cotton’s death, and he was charged in June. Police believe Miller placed a pillow over Cotton’s nose and mouth, causing her to suffocate.

Miller remained in the St. Clair County jail this week with bail set at $750,000. He has pleaded not guilty.

A status hearing for the case was scheduled 8:30 a.m. Feb. 1 in the courthouse.

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