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Council Bluffs man arrested in connection to 2003 murder

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Authorities have made a second arrest in connection with the July 2003 murder of Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez in Council Bluffs.

James Cain Harris, 36, of Council Bluffs, is in custody after his arrest Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to the Council Bluffs Police Department.

“We’ve had him for a long time in our sights, finally have enough put together to corroborate a lot of things we knew,” Sgt. David Dawson said.

Alvarez-Hernandez was killed after a fight on July 31, 2003, outside a home at 1613 S. 13th St. in Council Bluffs. Witnesses reported a loud altercation taking place outside the residence and heard Alvarez-Hernandez call for help.

The witnesses said they saw several subjects near the victim who fled prior to police arriving, Dawson said.

A then-unknown assailant had stabbed Alvarez-Hernandez to death. The case went cold until late last year, when authorities were able to tie Thomas J. Sanchez, 47, of La Vista, Neb., to the case using a DNA profile.

Police arrested Sanchez in late January. Sanchez remains at the Pottawattamie County Jail – facing first-degree murder charges – on a $1 million bond. He’s set to go to trial on April 15.

Harris is also being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $1 million bond, with a preliminary hearing in the case set for March 14.

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