Fairfax County police are focusing on a Franconia man as a possible suspect in a 1994 slaying in the Huntington area, after a homicide detective resubmitted DNA from the crime scene and got an apparent match, court records show.

Police believe the fatal stabbing of Marvin B. Greenwell, 55, probably occurred Saturday, May 7, 1994, inside his apartment on Cameron Run Terrace. But his body wasn't discovered until three days later after he didn't show up for work Monday or Tuesday.

Leads were limited. But court records show that investigators were able to extract DNA samples from cigarette butts and a towel in Greenwell's apartment, and the DNA wasn't Greenwell's.

Last year, homicide Detective Steve Milefsky, one of two detectives assigned to work cold cases, resubmitted the DNA from Greenwell's case to the state crime laboratory. A year later, a forensic examiner called Milefsky with a name. The DNA from Greenwell's apartment allegedly matched the DNA profile of Leslie E. Carver, 44, according to an affidavit Milefsky filed in Prince William County.

Carver is in the Prince William County jail after being arrested in June on drunken driving, resisting arrest and cocaine possession charges.

On Tuesday, Milefsky obtained a search warrant in Prince William to take a DNA sample from Carver. Police sought the new sample to confirm the match reported by the state crime lab.

Carver has not been charged with Greenwell's killing. Lt. Richard Perez, a Fairfax police spokesman, said: "We are still in the evidence-gathering stage. A match for DNA that points to an individual is not necessarily, in and of itself, completely incriminating."

So police, without mentioning Carver's name or calling him a suspect, are seeking help from the public in retracing Greenwell's steps about May 7 and in locating a gold diamond cluster ring that was stolen from his apartment.

Police ask anyone with information to call the toll-free tip line, 866-411-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous, and a $1,000 cash reward is available for information leading to an arrest.

Greenwell's widow, Hilda Greenwell, said yesterday, "To be honest, after so many years, you kind of give up hope." But, after reading recently about other cold cases being solved, she said, "For the last month, I've been thinking, 'Wouldn't it be neat if I got a call?' "

She got the call this week, telling her the case was no longer cold. "I just went to pieces," she said. "I couldn't believe it."

She said her husband was a devoted father to their three children, now grown. He was a payroll supervisor for a printing company in Alexandria. He did not get to see the three grandchildren who were born after his death, his wife said.

Greenwell's family last saw him May 6, 1994, at a birthday party for one of his children, Hilda Greenwell said. The couple were separated at the time but remained friendly.

"There's not a day that passes that you don't think about it," she said.

Court records show that shortly after Greenwell was killed, Carver was robbing hotel clerks in the area of Route 1 near Greenwell's apartment. He was arrested in July 1994 for robberies in Fairfax and Arlington counties and Alexandria, records show, for which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Those convictions caused Carver's DNA to be placed in the state database. Police were notified of a match in May but did not locate Carver until after his arrest on Route 1 in Woodbridge on June 22.

Staff writer Ian Shapira contributed to this report.