SANTA ANA ( — A Santa Rosa man was charged Tuesday with the 1974 murder of a 30-year-old woman in her La Palma apartment after DNA linked him to the crime, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said.

Larry Stephens, 65, is accused of strangling Patricia Ross on Dec. 11, 1974 as she was getting ready for a double date in Huntington Beach, according to officials. Prosecutors say Stephens and Ross did not know each other prior to the crime.

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Stephens, who was charged with a felony count of murder, faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.

Authorities say Ross, who lived alone, had finished running errands for her business when she told a friend she had to get home to get ready for a date with another couple at the couple’s home in Huntington Beach. Stephens, then 24, allegedly entered Ross’ apartment before the date and strangled her in her bedroom.

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When she failed to show, Ross’ friend’s date went to her apartment and found her lying face down and naked in her bedroom, prosecutors said. La Palma police detectives investigating the case found Ross’ small dog, unharmed, inside a drawer in her bedroom.

In March of this year, Stephens was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Santa Rosa and submitted a DNA sample. The DNA sample the defendant provided for the Santa Rosa Police Department matched the DNA profile collected from the murder scene, prosecutors said.

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Stephens is being held at Sonoma County Jail, awaiting transport back to Orange County. Prosecutors say they will request he be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment, which has not yet been scheduled.