HOUSTON - A man was sentenced to life in prison for the death of a young woman in 2002.

Craig Porter was found guilty by a jury in the homicide of Cherita Thurman and the sentence was handed down by a judge on Thursday.

Thurman's homicide had remained unsolved for a decade and was reopened and reinvestigated in 2012 after evidence revealed that Porter's DNA was found on several items of evidence at the crime scene. According to police, Porter has a violent criminal history that involves multiple robberies, assaults, narcotic charges and evading arrest.

Craig Porter
Craig Porter

On September 3, 2002, 22-year-old Thurman and 32-year-old Porter went to Thurman's apartment. Thurman was found the next day. She had been assaulted, bound with bed sheets and suffocated.

KHOU 11 News Reporter Rucks Russell interviewed Thurman's mother, Arvis, after Porter had been found guilty.

“Her spirit as of today to me is free,” said Arvis. “I believe that she is free today.”

The prosecuting attorney hoped the jury’s verdict would encourage the families of other victims still waiting for closure.

“Don’t give up hope,” said attorney Amanda Petroff. “As time goes on, science gets better. Technology gets better. And as people get arrested and put into that data base, there’s always hope that cold case detectives can solve a case even after it’s been many years.”