BSO Makes Arrest in Cold Case Murder of Grandmother

Man in prison charged in 1997 murder of elderly woman

By Ari Odzer
|  Thursday, Jun 21, 2012  |  Updated 8:29 PM EDT
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Authorities say they've made an arrest in the murder of an elderly South Florida woman that happened more than 15 years ago. The woman's son, Mark Palante, spoke at a news conference Thursday and said justice was served.

Authorities say they've made an arrest in the murder of an elderly South Florida woman that happened more than 15 years ago. The woman's son, Mark Palante, spoke at a news conference Thursday and said justice was served.

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Authorities say they've made an arrest in the murder of an elderly South Florida woman that happened more than 15 years ago.

The arrest was made in the murder of 71-year-old Olga Parlante, who was found strangled inside her Dania Beach apartment at 4200 Southwest 53rd Court on March 13, 1997.

Broward Sheriff's Office officials told NBC 6 Thursday that 44-year-old Bennie Hall has been arrested in the murder.

Hall, who will face one charge of first-degree murder, is serving an unrelated prison sentence in Marion County.

"It's not gonna take the hurt away, but we got our justice," Parlante's son, Mark Palante, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon at BSO headquarters.

Authorities say Hall beat Olga Parlante, strangled her with a blouse and dragged her back into her apartment when she tried to crawl away. She was partially paralyzed and lived alone.

"It's mind-boggling that they'd do something like this to her, she had one arm paralyzed," her son said.

"Who hurts an old person?" asked his sister, Debbie Parlante, through tears.

Before he the apartment, Hall dumped purses and drawers on the floor, presumably looking for valuables, and made off with a television set, portable radio and mantel clock, the BSO said.

Palm prints were collected but the technology at the time didn't allow them to be compared with other prints in a nationwide database.

But recently, BSO Detective Frank Ilarraza asked the crime lab to reevaluate evidence from the murder. When the tests came back, they showed Hall's palm prints were on Palante's bedroom wall and a receipt that had been dumped from her purse, the BSO said. His fingerprints also matches those found on a dresser drawer, another receipt and a business card.

Hall's record shows several arrests for burglaries and robberies in which elderly victims were beat, the BSO said. Five days after the Parlante murder, Hall was arrested in Miami-Dade for cocaine possession.

Sheriff Al Lamberti addressed the subject of cold cases Thursday.

"I've always felt closure was overrated. What we want is justice for families like this," he said.


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