1975 PA Cold Case Killing Heads To Trial – Patch.com

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DNA

Crime & Safety

Prosecutors hope DNA evidence from a coffee cup will bring the killer of a 19-year-old woman to justice — 47 years later.

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA — A Pennsylvania cold case nearly half a century old will head to trial after DNA taken from a discarded coffee cup led authorities to charge a man with murder.

David Sinopoli, 68, will head to trial in the 1975 killing of 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler in Lancaster County’s Manor Township.

The new evidence, which was brought forth this year and led to Sinopoli’s July arrest, was ruled as enough to move forward with the trial on homicide charges, a judge said this week.

Biechler was found dead in her Manor Township apartment on the night of Dec. 5, 1975. According to police, Biechler had returned home from the grocery store around 7 p.m. Her aunt and uncle found her body just after 8:45 p.m.

Authorities found Bechler laying on her back inside the apartment with a knife sticking out of her neck, officials said. The knife matched those stored in Biechler’s knife block in her kitchen. Investigators also found blood on the outside of the front door and several patches of blood on the apartment’s carpet. Authorities said there were also signs of a struggle inside the apartment.

The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office said Biechler died of massive bleeding due to multiple stab wounds. She had sustained 19 stab wounds to her neck, chest, upper abdomen and back. The coroner ruled her death a homicide.

In the following years, authorities followed multiple leads and cleared dozens of people in Biechler’s murder, officials said. In 1997, investigators submitted evidence from the crime scene for DNA analysis.

During the analysis, a male DNA profile was obtained from the right-side area of Biechler’s underwear and was determined to contain semen.

More than 20 years later, authorities enlisted the help of Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs to analyze DNA obtained in the case an advanced analysis servie. In September 2019, investigators released composites based on DNA evidence left at the crime scene. The composites revealed characteristics of the suspect including skin tone, eye color and hair color.

In December 2020, Parabon conducted further genetic genealogy analysis at the request of authorities. The organization’s reseach ultimately identified Sinopoli through his Italian ancestry as a possible person of interest.

Investigators pursued Sinopoli and were able to obtain DNA from him from a coffee cup he used and threw into a trash can while traveling through the Philadelphia International Airport, authorities said. Analysis of the coffee cup found Sinopoli’s DNA matched the DNA found on Biechler’s underwear.

Anyone with information on or who knew David Sinopoli around December 1975 is encouraged to contact Lancaster County Detective Christopher Erb at 717-299-8100. They can also submit a tip .

With reporting from Patch correspondent Megan VerHelst


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