MURRIETA (CBS) —  A man accused of raping and killing a 67-year-old Hemet neighbor in 1980 must stand trial for murder, a judge ruled Friday.

Shelby Shamblin, 49, could face life in prison if convicted of first- degree murder in the beating, strangulation and rape of Elizabeth Crossman.

Following a two-hour preliminary hearing today in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Albert Wojcik ruled there was sufficient evidence to bound the defendant over for trial and scheduled a post-indictment arraignment in the case for Jan. 6.

Shamblin remains held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

The defendant was 17 at the time of the crime  (Jan 17, 1980), so the District Attorney’s Office initially filed the murder charge in juvenile court following his February arrest. However, a judge ruled in May that he could be tried as an adult.

Shamblin was identified as a possible suspect at the outset of the investigation into Crossman’s murder because he had been hired by the victim’s husband to do odd jobs around their Florida Avenue property, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall.

“About a month after the murder, detectives interviewed Shamblin,” Hall said. “He told them he had been a runaway at the time and had not been at the Crossman home during the days prior to the murder. Detectives were unable to gather enough evidence to connect Shamblin to the murder.”

Forensic technicians took vaginal swabs and collected semen traces from the victim’s body, storing the evidence until 2002, when Hemet police detectives submitted it to the California Department of Justice for analysis, according to Hall.

A DNA profile was entered into the state’s Combined DNA Index System, with no “hit” for about eight years.

Shamblin’s DNA was identified as a match in the case after it was collected following his arrest on a drug charge in Homeland in October 2010.

(©2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

  1. Xen says:

    Execution is too good for this dirtbag. He can rot in prison for the rest of his life without parole

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