FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (PIX11) — The house where 15-year-old Nadine Slade was discovered strangled in a bathtub in 1992 was knocked down years ago to make way for a church parking lot. But the neighbor next door still remembered what happened on Birdsall Avenue and reacted this week to news of an arrest, 31 years later.

“Thank God, to God be the glory,” resident Shannon Hooks exclaimed. “Justice has finally been served.”

The murder suspect is Jerry Lee Lewis, 58, and he once lived in the same Far Rockaway house as Nadine Slade, in a different apartment. But the two units had a shared bathroom. Slade’s mother made the horrifying discovery of her daughter’s body.

“For decades, the individual who did this got away with it,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “For decades, the mother and the family are thinking ‘Who killed her?'”

Lewis was living in Shawsville, Virginia, and forced to register as a sex offender there after he pleaded guilty in New York in 2015 to sodomizing a woman. The victim was 88 years old.

In 2022, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD decided to re-test fingernail scrapings preserved from the 1992 teen murder victim — 30 years after Slade was killed. DNA extracted from the scrapings eventually yielded a “hit” on a national database called CODIS. The DNA evidence led to Lewis in Virginia. Slade, by fighting back, led investigators to her alleged killer.

Cold case detectives from New York City headed to Montgomery County, Virginia, earlier this week — where they interviewed Lewis in the sheriff’s office, after he was brought there by the probation department. Lewis was brought to Supreme Court in Queens, where he pleaded not guilty to a murder charge on Monday.

PIX11 News obtained records from the Montgomery County sheriff’s office dating back to 2008. They revealed Lewis had a history of getting in trouble, accused of stealing a computer and cash in 2008. Since April 2022, he was arrested three times, twice for alleged domestic assault in incidents involving his girlfriend, the mother of his child.

A sheriff’s deputy quoted the girlfriend saying, “…Lewis told her that he was going to throw the hot grease from the pan on her. [She] stated that she took the food outside and threw it out into the yard. [The girlfriend] stated that Lewis came outside and hit her in the back of the head.” EMS responders who arrived at the scene told police that Lewis’ girlfriend had a “swollen knot on the back of her head.”

District Attorney Katz told PIX11 News this week, “Enhanced technology is definitely a ‘game changer when it comes to cold cases, especially one that is decades old.”

The district attorney said her Cold Case Unit is actively investigating about 160 cold cases —with 80 of them having useful DNA evidence that might yield results with new testing.