Six things you need to know about the arrest of Lee Morris Hamburg in the cold case murder of Gene Downs

Simms, Texas and the Texarkana area were stunned yesterday upon hearing of the arrest of Lee Morris Hamburg for his alleged role in the murder of Gene Downs on October 23, 1988. Thanks to the Bowie County Sheriff's Department for solving this case and finding the alleged perpetrator. Here are five things you need to know about the arrest of Lee Morris Hamburg.

1. Hamburg recently turned 52 years old and was originally arrested in Rocklin, California

The suspect is 6'0" and 180 lbs and born on March 14, 1967. We found the original police report of the arrest from April. It states:
Crime: 1551(A) PC Fugitive from Justice
3600 Block of Sunset Blvd
Police were notified by Bowie County (Texas) Sheriff Detectives that a cold case homicide suspect, Lee Hamburg was living in Rocklin. Rocklin Police arrested and booked Hamburg into the South Placer Jail.
Lee Morris Hamburg DOB 3-14-1967
White male 6’0” 180lbs

2. In the latter part of 2018 the FBI updated its Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) which made a "cold case" turn "hot"

When the FBI updated its system, fingerprint evidence led the FBI to "finger" Lee Morris Hamburg and contact the Bowie County Sheriff.

3. The whole thing was like an episode out of the TV show "Cold Case" or "Cold Case Files"

Sheriff James Prince, Chad Ford (investigator) and Captain Robby McCarver of the Bowie County Sheriff's Office made the trek to Rocklin, California on April 9, 2019 and interviewed suspect Hamburg. The interview gave the sheriff and his team what they needed and an arrest warrant was issued. They believed they had their man and that the family of Gene Downs could finally be comforted.

4. Hamburg refused to waive extradition back to Bowie County, Texas

The alleged murderer either liked California or did not wish to come back to Bowie County to face a local jury. Placer County officials say he refused to be extradited without a hearing in California. The suspect was booked into jail until his California hearing appearance on April 24, 2019.

5. The Bowie County investigators had to go back to get the uncooperative murder suspect to bring him back to face justice

While most people might enjoy a trip to California, the trip by investigators back to Placer County, California was no trip to Disneyland. They had to collect a suspect who was alleged to have murdered a Bowie County resident in 1988.

6. Hamburg allegedly confessed to the crime - but it's possible his defense team might disagree

Lee Morris Hamburg allegedly confessed to being involved in the October, 1988 murder of Gene Downs, according to the press release issued by the office of James Prince, Bowie County Sheriff. We'll see if the alleged murderer's defense attorneys decide to challenge the confession. Hamburg was booked into Bi State Jail and Justice of the Peace Todd Fore set bond at $500,000.

Editor's note: Any person arrested or charged with a crime is presumed innocent if and until they are convicted in a court of law.



Bowie County mugshot (above)