Sharron Eugene Gadlin is a Gardena man charged in the 1994 murder of Cheri Huss in California, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office says. Gadlin was identified through DNA left in a bite mark on Huss and blood at the crime scene, according to prosecutors. He was arrested on Friday, March 4, 2022, the district attorney’s office announced in a press release on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Huss, then 39, was killed in her Desert Hot Springs apartment in April 1994.
Gadlin, 48, was charged with murder and was arraigned in Riverside County court on March 8, according to prosecutors. He is being held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center. According to prosecutors, Gadlin was arrested during a traffic stop at 135th and Western avenues in Gardena on the night of March 4 and he has been in jail since then. It was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a statement, “I hope Cheri and her family will finally get the justice they deserve and have waited so long for. Our cold case team of investigators will continue to use cutting-edge technology to solve old murder cases across Riverside County. Our prosecutors will continue to vigorously prosecute these murderers until we get justice for their victims.”
Here’s what you need to know about Sharron Eugene Gadlin and the murder of Cheri Lynn Huss:
1. Huss Was Stabbed to Death, but Prosecutors Say She Fought Her Attacker, Causing Her Killer to Leave Blood at the Scene
According to prosecutors, Cheri Huss was attacked in her apartment on Parma Drive and she was stabbed to death. She was found dead on April 24, 1994, and no suspect was found at the scene or identified immediately after Huss was killed.
“She had been stabbed multiple times and was bitten by her killer. Homicide investigators also found that she had fought off her attacker which caused the person to leave blood, determined by testing to be from a male, at the crime scene,” the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. “Forensic testing confirmed that the blood from the male matched the DNA of saliva left behind in the bite marks on the victim.”
According to an April 26, 1994, article in The Desert Sun, a Palm Springs, California-based newspaper, Huss was found dead by her parents. She was stabbed multiple times. The newspaper reported her parents found Huss partially nude, but the report noted that it was not known if she. was sexually assaulted. Police said at the time they believed the killing took place sometime between 10 p.m. on April 23, a Saturday, and the morning of April 24, a Sunday. Her parents told investigators they had spoken to her on the phone Saturday night, the Desert Sun reported in 1994.
The Desert Sun wrote, “Huss lived alone in a four-plex in the 12-900 block of Parma Drive. … The apartment had been in disorder because she had been painting cabinets, but investigators found evidence of a struggle. … However, there were no signs of forced entry. … Investigators were still trying to determine if anything had been taken and had no motive or suspects late Monday.”
Ruth Friedman, Huss’ mother, told The Desert Sun in 1998 they went to visit their daughter after receiving a message from her. “She sounded desperate. She told us someone had been taking photos of her and hanging up when she answered the phone. It was terrifying,” Ruth Friedman told the newspaper. She said when they arrived they found Huss’ dog was outside and her car was parked in the street instead of the driveway.
2. Investigators Used Forensic Genealogy to Connect Gadlin to the Case & Then Learned He Lived About 12 Miles From Huss’ Apartment at the Time She Was Killed
According to the district attorney’s office, “After years of investigation and regular attempts to match the suspect’s DNA profile to a profile in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that came up with no match, Cheri’s case unfortunately went cold. Then, in February 2022, using forensic genetic genealogy the Regional Cold Case Team was able to identify Gadlin as a person of interest in the crime and discovered he lived in Thousand Palms in 1994, about 12 miles from the murder scene.”
Prosecutors added in the news release, “Cold case investigators sought and were granted a warrant to obtain a saliva sample from Gadlin which was done on Feb. 14, 2022. Four days later, on Feb. 18, investigators received confirmation from the state Department of Justice lab that there was a DNA match of the saliva to the DNA profile of the person suspected of murdering Cheri Huss.”
Public records show Gadlin lived in Thousand Palms, California, at the time of Huss’ death. He was 19 at the time. He had moved to Thousand Palms from Compton, California, according to public records. An inactive Facebook page was the only social media for Gadlin that Heavy was able to locate. Prosecutors did not reveal many details about him.
3. Cheri Lynn Huss Was a Recently Divorced Mother of 3 When She Was Killed
According to a 2004 article in The Desert Sun, Cheri Huss, born Cheryl Lynn Friedman, was recently divorced and a mother of three at the time of her death. Huss’ parents, including her mother, Ruth Friedman, worked to keep their daughter’s case in the spotlight after it turned cold, including by offering a $50,000 reward and posting billboards in the Desert Hot Springs area, The Desert Sun reported in 2004.
Ruth Friedman told the newspaper, “How in the world can we let someone like that eat, drink, smile, dance, drive – live a life. You feel like your hands are tied as a parent. People say why don’t you just drop it and go on. You can’t just drop it.” Friedman told the newspaper her daughter had just moved to Desert Hot Springs two months before she was killed. She said her daughter was in “emotional turmoil” at the time.
Jeff Huss, Cheri Huss’ ex-husband, told The Desert Sun in 2004 that they had met in high school but didn’t start dating until years later after a chance meeting at a party. He said they had been considering reconciliation at the time of her death, but his ex-wife was working through personal issues. Ruth Friedman told the newspaper, “She was robbed of her life, her children were robbed of a mother’s presence.”
4. Gadlin, Who Has Lived in Gardena Since 2012, Has Previous Arrests on Charges Including Entering Property Without Consent, Disorderly Conduct, & Drug Charges
Sharron Gadlin has lived in Gardena since 2012, according to public records. Gadlin previously lived in San Pedro, Hawthorne, Compton, Thousand Palms, Lynwood and Moreno Valley, California, and also spent time living in Waco, Georgia, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, according to public records viewed by Heavy.
Gadlin was arrested in Riverside County, California, in 1999, records show. He was charged with criminal mischief. He was also charged in 1999 with entering property without consent and disorderly conduct, according to court records.
In 1998, when Gadlin was 25, he was arrested along with another man on a drug charge, according to an article in The Tustin News. He was arrested on suspicion of a drug-related offense. The arrest occurred in Orange County, the newspaper reported.
Also in 1998, Gadlin and another other man filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of San Bernardino and a San Bernardino police officer, according to federal court records. Gadlin accused the officer and the city of assault and battery, negligence, false arrest and other accusations. The case was later dismissed. According to court records, the officer, who was off-duty and in plainclothes, shot at Gadlin and another man after he suspected they were trying to carjack him while he was waiting outside a restaurant.
5. The Riverside County Cold Case Homicide Team Worked With Local & Federal Agencies to Arrest Gadlin, the DA’s Office Says
According to the press release from the district attorney’s office, “The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team is comprised of members of the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department, the FBI, and the Riverside Police Department. The team is available to assist in the investigation of cold case homicides for all Riverside County law enforcement agencies.”
Prosecutors added in the release, the “Regional Cold Case Homicide Team investigators ask that anyone who may have information about this case call (951) 955-2777 or leave a tip on the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department website homicide tip form found here: https://www.riversidesheriff.org/528/Contact-Us.” Prosecutors did not release any additional information about Gadlin or if they learned any other details that tied him to the case other than DNA.
Authorities have released few details about the case, including whether they have determined a motive. Court documents that could shed more light on what investigators have learned since Gadlin was identified as the suspect were not immediately available. Heavy will update this story if more information is made public. Gadlin will return to court on March 25, 2022.