For almost a decade, the gruesome discovery in 1994 of a woman's body dumped in a 55-gallon garbage can behind a San Antonio church went unsolved.
Police finally caught a break when a convict in Michigan had to provide a DNA sample as a parole requirement. Run through a national database, Rodrigo Hernandez's DNA linked him to the abduction, rape and strangling of 38-year-old Susan Verstegen in Texas.
On Thursday, the 38-year-old Hernandez is set for lethal injection for her murder.
Lawyers for Rodriguez trying to block the punishment have an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Verstegen's slaying is one of two tied to Hernandez. Two years ago, DNA tests similarly linked him to the 1991 slaying of a homeless woman in Grand Rapids, Mich.