Sheriff: Discarded beer cans lead to arrest in 1996 cold case murder

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County deputies said they have caught the man who stabbed a convenience store manager to death 25 years ago.

Detectives said DNA evidence helped identify Kenneth Stough Jr. as the man who stabbed Terrance Paquette to death in 1996.

On Feb. 3, 1996, an armored car service came by to pick up the previous night’s receipts at the Lil’ Champs store along Clarcona-Ocoee Road.

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That was when they noticed the door to the business was locked and a small amount of blood on one of the doors, and called deputies.

When deputies arrived, they found blood throughout the store. A $1,000 cash deposit was missing.

Paquette would later be found inside the men’s bathroom covered in blood; he had been stabbed 73 times.

READ: Discarded beer cans lead to arrest in cold case murder at Orange County convenience store

The case was closed in 1997 after detectives were unable to identify a suspect.

Then, in 2013, the case was reopened to see if any new leads could be found.

In 2019, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement hired a forensic lab to use DNA found in the store to help solve the case.

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The investigation would lead detectives to Stough, who lived near Paquette at the time he was killed.

The break detectives needed came after they watched Stough throw a bag of beer cans into a dumpster in Eustis.

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The cans were turned over to the FDLE, who found that DNA from one of the cans matched the DNA profile found inside the store in 1996.

Sheriff John Mina said this is an example of why the Sheriff’s office created the cold case unit.

”Just because we don’t make an arrest in a case in a day or a few weeks or even a few months doesn’t mean we give up on our victims and their families”, Mina said.

Stough is being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.

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Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.