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LAPD identifies suspect in 1994 Studio City slaying

October 13, 2010 |  4:01 pm

Los Angeles police identified a man Wednesday who allegedly shot and killed a septuagenarian from Studio City two decades ago during a burglary gone bad.

Rupert Thompson, 73, was severely beaten in 1994 before he was shot by an intruder at his home on Aqua Vista Street. His wife, Dorothy, 70, survived a gunshot wound to the chest.

Detectives were unable to find a suspect but preserved physical crime scene evidence that would later prove crucial in identifying a suspect.

Investigator Steve Castro of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division began reexamining the Thompson murder case last year.

Items found at the crime scene, including what police described as "a foreign DNA genetic profile," were submitted for DNA analysis and uploaded into state and national databases.

That produced a "cold hit" on Kevin Bernard Smith, who was serving a sentence in Mississippi State Prison for an unrelated narcotics trafficking conviction.

Smith has been charged with murder with special circumstances in the Thompson killing. He is being held at the California Institute for Men in Chino, pending arraignment.

-- Andrew Blankstein