A guilty verdict from a jury has resolved a cold murder case that had been on the books in California since 1980. The city's district attorney's office chose not to request the death penalty for the 60-year-old man convicted of raping and murdering a 36-year-old woman in her Silver Lake apartment.
A new lead alerted cold case detectives at the L.A. Police Department that a man, already in prison for a different murder, had lived only a mile away from the Silver Lake victim. A semen sample collected from the victim in 1980 produced a match with the suspect's DNA. The jury of five women and seven men agreed that the killing involved the circumstance of murder during the commission of rape. The jury had not been informed that the defendant was currently serving a prison sentence. The court has scheduled his sentencing hearing where he could be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.
At the trial, the man's defense attorney argued that his client had engaged in sexual relations with the woman sometime during the five days before her death. He denied that any evidence showed that he had bludgeoned and stabbed the women.
In cases like this, a defense attorney strives to introduce reasonable doubt into jurors' minds. A person charged with violent crimes might want legal advice when deciding between a plea bargain and a standing trial. An attorney's case evaluation might help someone understand how vulnerable the evidence could be to challenges.
A defense attorney may open a dialogue with a prosecutor to discuss the possibility of reducing charges. A prosecutor with limited evidence might be willing to negotiate a plea deal for a less serious criminal charge that carries a lighter penalty.