Man to serve 20 years for 1988 cold case murder

A cold case has ended in a conviction more than 30 years later, says the Texas Rangers.

On Sept. 20, Daniel Andrew MacGinnis pled guilty to the 1988 murder of Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs in Port Arthur, Texas

MacGinnis was sentenced to 20 years, which will run concurrently with a previous 199-year sentence on unrelated drug and weapons charges in Tyler County.

Daniel MacGinnis, left, pled guilty to the 1988 murder of Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs, right, in Port Arthur, Texas.  (Texas Rangers)

On Oct. 6, 1988, Jacobs’ body was found in the Neches River in Port Arthur and had been last seen the previous evening at the Silver Spur nightclub in Silsbee. A month later, her driver license and other personal items were located under a bridge near Kountze. 

Investigators identified MacGinnis as a suspect after two other incidents involving women but did not have enough evidence to charge him, says the Texas Rangers.

Then, in 2018, Jacobs’ family reached out to the Texas Rangers UCIP who believed further investigation was needed and officially reopened the case in October 2018. 

Through the new investigation, clothing that had never been DNA-tested and other items were identified, and the evidence was submitted to the Houston DPS Crime Lab for testing and retesting. The new DNA evidence was then entered into the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), which identified a "hit" on MacGinnis, says the Texas Rangers.

After an interview and confirmation of the DNA evidence, he was arrested and eventually charged with Jacobs’ murder in Jefferson County, says the Rangers.