LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Costa Mesa man was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the 1979 slaying of a Torrance nurse that he dated earlier that year.
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, 62-year-old Douglas Gordon Bradford was convicted by a jury that deliberated for less than three days to reach a guilty verdict.
This month marks the 35th year since the Aug. 29, 1979, killing of Lynne Knight.
KCAL9’s Serene Branson sat down with Knight’s sister, Donna Knight Wigmore, who spoke of the justice that her family sought for over 30 years.
“This provides us an opportunity to finally heal,” said Wigmore. “There is no such thing as closure in murder.”
Knight worked as a neonatal nurse for Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance at the time, officials said.
Authorities said that the 28-year-old was stabbed more than 15 times and strangled with a homemade wire garrote, which was later found near her body in her small Anza Avenue apartment.
“He’s a sick puppy to have done what he did to my sister,” Wigmore said.
According to prosecutors, Bradford was an engineering student who became enraged when Knight ended their relationship.
Wigmore said that he had stalked Knight for some time and attacked her as she slept in her home.
Bradford’s attorney, Robert Shapiro, claimed his client’s innocence throughout the trial by saying that he was sailing on the night of the murder.
Without evidence, he avoided charges and went on to live a normal life until 2009, when the Torrance Police Department uncovered new evidence and arrested him 30 years after the murder.
“Cold cases aren’t that cold; they can be renewed and can bring back things that should have been done years ago,” said Clair Knight, father of the victim.
Bradford had been out on bail during the trial but was immediately taken into custody after the verdict was read.
“I knew he was the murderer all along,” Wigmore said. “It just felt so good, such a relief to get this monster off of the streets.”
Wigmore said that her family will be back to give their impact statements at Bradford’s sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 10.
“At least now maybe more of Lynne’s good memories will surface,” Wigmore said.