Authorities look for serial killer ties in Marine's 1974 murder
So far, however, police have cautioned that they have no direct evidence tying Kraft to the slaying of Oral Alfred Stuart Jr., 18. Stuart's naked body was found at an apartment carport on Spring Street near the 605 Freeway in November 1974.
His brother, Carl Stuart, said he believes Oral may have been the victim of a serial killer.
Randy Kraft, a soft-spoken computer consultant who had served in the military, preyed on men along Southern California freeways. He was convicted of 16 slayings that occurred between 1972 and 1983 after he was found with a dead Marine in his car by two California Highway Patrol officers. He was known to target men in the military. Kraft remains on death row in San Quentin state prison.
Long Beach Police Lt. Lloyd Cox said detectives seeking to solve the case are "mindful of Kraft" and looking into a possible connection, but have no direct evidence at this time to link him to Stuart's killing.
For years, Oral Stuart was known only as John Doe No. 155. The cause of his death was undetermined.
But after cold case detectives reopened the case, they used his Marine-related tattoo to help identify him. Stuart had been classified as a deserter after he failed to return to duty at Camp Pendleton.
In an interview, his older brother Carl Stuart said his family knew that something bad had happened when he disappeared without a trace.
Oral Stuart's status will now be changed from deserter to honorably discharged. The Marine Corps is planning a full honor guard funeral at his grave. His John Doe marker will be replaced with a headstone.
Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department homicide Dets. Bryan McMahon and Steve Dougan at (562) 570-7244.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Long Beach Police Department cold-case detectives have identified Oral Alfred Stuart Jr. as the victim in a 1974 murder case. Credit: Long Beach Police Department.