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Suspect identified in 1975 rape and murder of elderly Mar Vista woman [Updated]

Police have identified the man wanted in connection with a 34-year-old rape and murder case in Mar Vista as Dennis Vasquez, 50, of Los Angeles.

He was arrested Tuesday shortly before 5 p.m. at his home in the 3900 block of South Grand Avenue. Police officials said they plan to hold a news conference Monday to discuss the case. Los Angeles Police Department  records show Vasquez was arrested in April for driving with knowledge that his license was suspended or revoked.

Vasquez, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was scheduled to appear in juvenile court today after being charged with the rape and strangulation of 80-year-old Alice Lewis on Dec. 17, 1975, in her Mar Vista home.

[Updated at 6:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post placed the scene of the crime in Venice.]

Vasquez is charged with murder with the special allegation the killing was committed during a rape and burglary. He is being held without bail.

Prosecutors are asking a juvenile court judge to make the finding that he is unfit to be tried as a juvenile, so he can be charged as an adult. Deputy Dist. Atty. Eva Stodel said a DNA match came back three weeks ago identifying the man as a suspect in Lewis' slaying.

Jane Robison, a district attorney’s spokeswoman, said the man was picked up recently on an unrelated crime, which led to a swab of his DNA being taken by authorities. The DNA was “matched” to a sample from the 1975 crime that had been placed on the state database system about seven years ago, Robison said.

No suspects were identified at the time, but evidence in the case was stored by the LAPD.

-- Richard Winton

Comments () | Archives (10)

This is good work LAPD. There are just too many bad guys living among us.

Boy, this DNA match thing is amazing. I bet he thought he was going to think he had committed the perfect crime. A 16 year old punk raping an eighty year old lady. So sick. Now put the S.O.B. away for good.

Sad part is that some defense attorney will probably find a way to get him off on a technicality since the case is so old.

is he an illegal immigrate ? Our government should deport of the illegal immigrate regarding the child born here illegally? there have no right to be here the first place. they made cash and send it back home. and then, they applied welfare, housing. medcare, our citizen paid tax for those illegal immigrate. the end is near.

Great "gotcha!" PD! Most excellent!

Why is LAPD so backlogged up with DNA testing when the first DNA conviction occurred in Florida in 1988 on a rape case. The City of Los Angeles (Citizen taxpayers) have just finished spending 60 million + on Government Oversight (Consent Decree) which really didn't change or detect anything. That money should have been spent on many other things including the DNA backlog.

Great job LAPD 34 years after the fact...This case should have been solved in 2000 when LA agreed to the Consent Decree. LA chose to spend 60 million on extra auditors instead of law enforcement efforts.

You go DNA, you let some go, but make up for it by catching many others

Kudo's to the crime department ! Wow to catch a creep after this long - love that determination. Hope he is tried as an adult and is sent to prison for the rest of his twisted life. Wonder what he's been up to since then???

TheBigPicture, you're rant is unwarranted. Please try to read a little more carefully next time. The LAPD did not have the suspect's DNA to match until he was picked up in April for driving on a suspended license. No backlog issue here.

Good to hear that this piece of trash is locked up so he cant harm anyone again.

For Bruce, you're an idiot for bringing the immigration issue into this. You probably talk like you type and it's probably your race that commits welfare fraud.


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