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Long Beach man gets 26 years to life for 1985 love triangle murder

January 19, 2012 | 12:48 pm

A Long Beach man has been sentenced to 26 years to life in prison in a cold-case killing from 1985.

After years of inconsistent testimony, Janos Kulcsar, now 60, was sentenced in the slaying of Archie McFarland, 60, whom he fatally stabbed to death over a shared romantic interest.

"The passage of time played to this case's advantage," Deputy Dist. Atty. John Lewin said. "Lies are hard to remember. The truth never changes."

Kulcsar was the first and only suspect in the Dec. 9, 1985, killing. Police arrested him the morning of the slaying, believing that he had killed McFarland so that he could continue his three-year affair with McFarland's wife, Mary Ann.

But he was released after prosecutors found insufficient evidence to file charges.

For 17 years, the case was dormant. McFarland's wife resumed her relationship with Kulcsar, who continued to live and work in Long Beach.

Torrance police and Lewin reopened the case in 2002, concluding that Kulcsar was the only person with a motive to kill McFarland.

"The evidence was overwhelming that the only person in the world with a motive to commit this crime is the defendant," L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold said during Wednesday's sentencing hearing.

In the weeks before the stabbing, Mary Ann McFarland had ended her affair with Kulcsar and moved back home with her husband. Prosecutors said Kulcsar had become increasingly upset and threatening — and once even showed up at the McFarlands' home with a gun.

After McFarland died of five stab wounds -- including one to the groin -- his family immediately blamed Kulcsar.

Police lacked physical evidence but recorded multiple inconsistent interviews with Kulcsar over the years. He gave four different alibis for the morning of the stabbing.

"He killed Archie McFarland, and he could not keep his lies straight," Lewin said. "He sunk his own boat."

In a Torrance courtroom Wednesday, as McFarland's children spoke during the sentencing hearing, Kulcsar kept his head bowed, showing no emotion.

McFarland's daughter, Linda, told the court she "held no bitterness" toward Kulcsar and just wanted both families to move on.

"I hate what you did, but I don't hate you," McFarland's son, Gary, said to Kulcsar.

"It took 25 years, but I really appreciate that the system does actually work," he said, his voice breaking.

Mary Ann McFarland, now in her 70s, hugged her children after they spoke to the court.

"It's just a tragedy for all those involved," she said. "For my family and for his family."

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-- Rosanna Xia

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