SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 61-year-old man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for raping and murdering an 84-year-old Anaheim woman nearly 30 years ago.
Richard Stanley Sandoval was convicted in June of first-degree murder for the Sept. 23, 1984, death of Margaret Lenney.
The victim had hired Sandoval, who was a transient at the time, to paint her apartment complex. Lenney’s body was found on her front porch with her pants and underwear pulled down and her shirt lifted up, police said.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray told jurors that improvements in processing DNA evidence helped officials link Sandoval to the cold-case murder.
Sandoval was arrested and questioned a few days after Lenney’s body was found, but the only evidence was blood on a switchblade he was carrying, which was not strong enough to lead to his prosecution at the time, according to Murray.
The knife was swabbed in the mid-1990s when technology had evolved enough to include DNA analysis, but Murray said investigators still didn’t have enough conclusive evidence.
Over the next decade, investigators were able to find genetic material of the victim and defendant on the weapon, and rape kit evidence was also able to connect Sandoval to the crime.
He was serving time in state prison in Chino in April 2011 for another rape charge from 1985 when the DNA match was made, officials said.
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