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Jacksonville man gets 22 years in cold case murder from 1991

Eddie Rhiles pleaded guilty Monday to the murder of Joseph Back

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in a cold case murder.

Eddie Lee Rhiles, Jr., 69, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to a count of second-degree murder in the 1991 stabbing death of 85-year-old Joseph Back, the State Attorney’s Office said.

Homicide detectives were called to Back’s Harvin Road home July 12, 1991, where they found Back had been stabbed twice in the chest during an apparently burglary. Back died of his injuries.

Investigators did not immediately identify a suspect in the case despite fingerprints found at the scene. But they caught a break years later when new technology matched the prints to Rhiles.

At first, Rhiles denied being in Back’s house that night and pleaded not guilty. Later, however, he apologized to the victim’s family and pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder charge.