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New charges for man arrested in 24-year-old Virginia Beach homicide case

Posted at 12:46 PM, Jan 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-19 14:22:46-04

Update: Malick now faces new charges of rape and forcible sodomy related to the death of Joan Schoppaul. His trial set for November 16, 2015 will be continued.

Virginia Beach, Va. - Bond was denied a second time Friday for a man arrested last month for a 1990 murder in Virginia Beach.

Robert Malick, 46, was arrested on December 15, 2014, in Erie, Penn., and charged with second degree murder for the 1990 killing of 17-year-old Joan Schoppaul.

A detective and the prosecutor on Friday said it was four bloody fingerprints found at the crime scene 24 years ago that recently led police to Malick. A detective said a "fingerprint card" from a federal job for which Malick had applied was recently included in a nationwide database, and that's how police made the match.

Defense attorney James Broccoletti said, however, more and more lawyers have been challenging the reliability of fingerprint identifications, an avenue he will likely pursue.

Robert Malick

Robert Malick

Schoppaul was last seen on the morning of Tuesday, December 4, 1990. She was to return home after visiting a friend but never arrived. Her worried parents filed a missing persons report, according to police. Police said at the Friday hearing that when they first asked Malick about Schoppaul, who lived across the street from him, he said only that he knew the teen in passing. Later, according to Det. Doug Zebley, Malick admitted he'd had sex with the girl before she disappeared.

Within 24 hours of leaving home, Joan’s body was found. She had been wrapped in layers of trash bags and a blue sleeping bag and tossed into a dumpster behind the former Food Lion Supermarket located at 4740 Baxter Road. Police said Friday she was strangled and sexually assaulted.

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