More than a year later, inmate extradited to Jacksonville in 1985 murder of teen Leslie McCray – 104.5 WOKV

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man accused in the 1985 murder of teenager Leslie McCray is finally in Jacksonville to face the charges against him.

Action News Jax first told you in August 2021, when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of David Nelson Austin, now 60, who was in a Michigan prison for three sexual batteries.

Personnel from JSO and the SAO fought for over a year to get Austin extradited to Duval County, JSO said in a news release. Jail records show Austin was booked into the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in downtown Jacksonville early Saturday morning.

David Nelson Austin

At the time Leslie was killed Dec. 24, 1985, she lived in an apartment on St. Johns Avenue. She and her boyfriend were tied up and she was taken against her will out of the apartment.

The 17-year-old’s body was found on the side of the road off of Old Middleburg Road and Wiley, not far from I-295 on Jacksonville’s Westside.

RELATED: Michigan inmate arrested in 1985 murder of Jacksonville teen Leslie McCray

Her body had been mutilated by stab wounds to her neck.

In 1986, the case was suspended after evidence was collected. In 2019, Leslie’s family reached out to JSO’s Cold Case Unit and Project: Cold Case to request a re-examination of evidence.

At that time, Leslie’s family spoke to Action News Jax to generate awareness for solving the case.

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In April 2020, an investigative lead was developed and the DNA profile was found to match Austin’s, JSO Chief TK Waters said when he first announced Austin’s arrest in August 2021.

After that, a detective went to Michigan and collected more DNA to confirm the match.

In May 2021, a warrant was issued for second-degree murder and kidnapping. In August 2021, a Duval County grand jury indicted Austin for first degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed sexual battery.

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Waters said Austin was not a suspect in the killing of Leslie previously. He lived in Jacksonville, stayed here for a short period of time and then left the state.

In August 2021, Assistant State Attorney Lauren Anderson credited not only JSO with its work on the case, but also the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Michigan Department of Corrections. She said at that time, a 2017 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice also helped provide funds that helped solve this case.

According to MDOC records, Austin was previously serving two life sentences for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (personal injury) at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Mich. The date of those offenses is listed as Sept. 10, 1988 and he was sentenced on July 22, 1991.

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