General Crime

* Eugene Albert Protsman arraigned today on charges that he murdered two people in Alameda 15 years ago

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Eugene Albert Protsman was arraigned today on charges that he murdered two people in their homes in Alameda 15 years ago, police said. Alameda police said DNA evidence helped them connect Protsman, a 56-year-old native of Colorado Springs, Colo., to the deaths of 59-year-old Manual Garcia in the 100 block of Crolls Garden Court on Oct. 29, 1996, and 54-year-old Diane Ely in the 2200 block of San Jose Avenue 12 days later, on Nov. 10, 1996.

Police said there is no evidence that Garcia and Ely knew each other and at the time of their murders there was no indication that the two cases were related. Alameda police said in the fall of 2010 they received information that linked Protsman to both homicides and Sgt. Kevin McNiff reopened both investigations.

McNiff reviewed the original investigation, obtained updated statements and re-examined all of the physical evidence, police said. Recent technological advances in the science of DNA evidence ultimately helped him solve the case, they said. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has charged Protsman with two counts of first-degree murder along with four special circumstance allegations that could lead to the death penalty if he’s convicted.

Alameda police and District Attorney officials were unavailable for comment on Protsman’s criminal history. But in a posting on Convict House, a pen-pal site for prisoners who seek friendship, Protsman said he’s in prison for murder and lists his release date as “0000-00-00.” The posting said he was being held at the prison in Lancaster in Los Angeles County.

Protsman described himself as “free spirited, biker, loved to travel and be out doors, very open minded, understanding, but a realest.” Protsman said, “Doing life without parole. I will never get out and am lonely. Please write.” He said he is “very business-minded, love country and western, classic rock and roll music. Sports nut as well love to do things with my hands. Hobby and arts and crafts items.”

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