Ft. Lauderdale, FL (WSVN/CNN) - Fifteen years after a grandmother was murdered in her Florida apartment, detectives tracked down a career criminal they believe is behind the brutal crime.
"My mom was a fighter and that's what happened in here. My mom fought for her life. She tried to get out that front door and they drug her back in. I can see that from when I cleaned out the apartment for myself, from all the fingerprints that were all over the walls," said Mark Parlante, the victim's son.
She was beaten, gagged, beaten again, and then strangled to death when she tried to crawl away from her attackers.
One of her 23 grandchildren found her body.
It was March 19, 1997, 4200 Southwest 53rd Court in Dania Beach.
Olga Parlante, 71, was robbed of a 20 inch television set, a radio, and a clock before being murdered 15 years ago.
"Closure is overrated. Justice is always what we're looking for. And for me, it doesn't matter how long it takes," said Sheriff Al Lamberti.
Fifteen years ago the detective in the beige top was Frank Ilarraze and he never gave up.
"Homicides stay with you forever, especially the unsolved ones. It's a certain dedication that you have toward these cases that you want to see them solved. You want it for the family, you want it for the victims who are no longer here, so it's a sense of responsibility," said Ilarraze.
Now, new computer technology has led Ilarraze to 44-year-old career criminal Benny Hall, incarcerated in Martin County.
For 15 years palm prints at the scene could not be entered into a national databank, but new technology changed that for the grieving sons and daughters.
"Yes, I'm grateful. I didn't at one point, think they would solve it, but I always kept it in my heart that Frank wouldn't give up," said Mark Parlante.
Hall is serving an unrelated prison sentence for a drug and robbery offense.
He now faces one charge of first-degree murder.
He denies any involvement in the killing and says he was never in Broward County.
Detectives believe that Hall had an accomplice and are searching for a second suspect.