COLORADO SPRINGS — Michael Whyte has been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 murder of 20-year-old Fort Carson soldier Darlene Krashoc.
Police arrested Whyte in June of 2019 after investigators connected him to the crime through DNA evidence. On Thursday, a jury found Whyte guilty of first-degree murder. On Friday morning he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Whyte can appeal the decision.
According to a release from CSPD officers discovered Krashoc’s body early in the morning on March 17, 1987, behind the Korean Club Restaurant at 2710 South Academy Blvd.
The night before her death Krashoc went to a different club called Shuffles with members of her military unit and was seen leaving between midnight and 1 a.m.
An autopsy determined Krashoc died of strangulation and was moved to the Korean Club Restaurant after her death.
The case went cold but was reopened in 2004 and 2011 for lab testing. Investigators found that an unknown male DNA profile was found on several pieces of evidence.
In 2016 Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, working with CSPD, submitted evidence to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Laboratory for more DNA testing in an effort to find new leads. That analysis included trait predictions for the suspect’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape, which allowed investigators to create a “snapshot” composite of what the suspect may have looked like at the time of the murder, and what he might look like today.
In 2019, detectives were able to upload the suspect's DNA to an internet DNA database called GedMatch, which compiles DNA from sites like 23andme and Ancestry.com. Detectives were then able to match the suspect's DNA with three women who were thought to be second, third and fourth cousins of the suspect. After examining a family tree, investigators focused on Michael Whyte, who had been living in Colorado Springs in 1987. His listed residence at the time was also three miles away from where Darlene's body was found.
Michael had joined the U.S. Army in 1979 and worked as a Signal Operations Manager in the U.S. Army Signal Regiment until 1998. According to the affidavit, His military records show he was assigned to the Army installation at Fort Carson between September 1986 to August 1987.
In May of 2019, CSPD was able to get a sample of Whyte's DNA from a cup at a restaurant he went to, and the door handle of his car. The swabs were given to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory for analysis. In June of 2019, the USACIL determined that the swabs were "consistent" with the DNA of the suspect.
Whyte was arrested by members of the Violent Offender Fugitive Task Force, CSPD Cold Case Homicide Unit, and Army CID at his home in Thornton and taken to the Adams County Detention Facility.
Krashoc's parents live in West Virginia. After Thursday's verdict, they said Darlene can now rest in peace, and the verdict will help them find closure.
"Been waiting for this day for 34 years, and it's not going to change overnight, so... but it's a good feeling," said Darlene's father, Paul Krashoc.
Krashoc was described as a kind-hearted, compassionate young lady who loved life. Her parents also said she was a fighter.
"She was a fighter and she never wanted to give up, I know she didn't want to give her life up, but she got the evidence that was needed to put him away," said Betty Krashock, Darlene's mother.