DNA hit leads to murder plea and life sentence in cold case: prosecutors
A man was sentenced to life in prison more than 10 years after he sexually assaulted and killed a 28-year-old woman in California, prosecutors announced on Monday.
Raul Facio, 35, was sentenced for the 2006 murder of Melissa Martin in Porterville, according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office in Tulare County.
The office said Facio pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in August. This, after DNA yielded key information in the case after many years and investigative dead ends.
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On Feb. 4, 2006, Porterville police officers were notified that a woman’s body was found in a camper located in a storage building in a drive-in movie theater, prosecutors said, adding that officers identified the woman as Martin after finding her driver’s license.
While processing the scene, officers discovered semen on Martin’s clothing, the news release said, adding that more than 30 people volunteered their DNA for testing, but no matches were found.
Authorities said Martin had not been seen for one week before her body was found at the drive-in movie theater. The cause of death was determined to be massive blood loss from a laceration to an artery in her neck, according to prosecutors.
Facio was arrested in Porterville on drug charges the day before Martin’s body was found, officials said, adding that he did not appear at subsequent court hearings and instead fled to Los Angeles.
Ten years later, Facio was arrested for grand theft in Los Angeles and as part of the felony booking process, a DNA sample was collected. It ultimately matched the sample obtained from Martin’s clothing way back in 2006.
Facio was charged with murder in Tulare County and, after serving his time in Los Angeles County, he was extradited.
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“Said District Attorney Tim Ward, “I have never forgotten Melissa and I am profoundly relieved and proud that her family was able to experience justice.”
Facio will not be eligible for parole for 25 years, according to current California law.
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Source : Talia Kaplan Link