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Man, 53, Arrested For 1977 Cold Case Rape, Murder Of Mom, 17

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 53-year-old man was charged Friday with the 1977 rape and murder of a teenage mother in Long Beach.

Martell Nathaniel Chubbs, 53, was arrested yesterday by Long Beach police. He appeared in court briefly this afternoon, but his arraignment was postponed until Sept. 11.

He is accused of murdering 17-year-old Shelley H. on Dec. 27, 1977. Her last name was not disclosed in the complaint, which includes special allegations of rape and burglary.

The victim was found with her 13-month-old daughter sitting beside the body.

The coroner determined that Shelley died of asphyxia, but also found superficial stab wounds, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Her infant daughter — who is now 35 years old — was not wounded.

Long Beach police detectives linked Chubbs to the cold case killing after submitting DNA — taken at the time of the autopsy –  into CODIS, a database which stores DNA information from federal, state and local crime labs.

Deputy District Attorney Jodi Castano filed the case.

CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Suraya Fadel said Chubbs’ priors include rape and crimes against minors.

Sandi Gibbons, of the LA County District Attorney’s office, said “the technology [to arrest] might not have existed then, but it does now.”

Fadel said at the time of his arrest, Chubbs was operating a home improvement and painting business in Antioch, where he now resides.

Chubbs  is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

If convicted, Chubbs could get the death penalty.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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