COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The trial of a man accused of murder in a Franklin County cold case dating back more than 30 years began Tuesday morning.

Robert Edwards, 67, is accused of killing Alma Lake on June 3, 1991. Court records allege Edwards raped and killed Lake before leaving her naked body in the village of Urbancrest in southwestern Franklin County.

Edwards is facing murder and aggravated murder charges. He was arrested Aug. 5.

In addition to Lake’s killing, Edwards has been charged with the Nov. 11, 1996, death of Michelle Dawson-Pass in Licking County. Dawson-Pass’ body was found in a similar manner to Lake’s body. He is facing two counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder in Dawson-Pass’ death, according to online court records.

Edwards was tied to both deaths via DNA. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensic scientists developed a DNA profile for a suspect in both women’s deaths, but the case grew cold when no match was found. In 2020, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received the BCI’s Cold Case Unit to reexamine the evidence.

Using new technology, the forensics laboratory conducted advanced DNA analysis. BCI then obtained a search warrant for Edwards’ DNA, with this investigation and new DNA evidence allegedly tying him to the murders.