50-year-old California cold-case murder solved using DNA technology – Toronto Sun

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The brutal murder of Nancy Bennallack, who was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Sacramento County more than 50 years ago, has finally been solved thanks to DNA technology.

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The 28-year-old court reporter was found with 30 stab wounds and nearly decapitated in her bedroom after she failed to show up for work on Oct. 26, 1970.

Police used forensic genetic genealogy — the same used to solve the Golden State Killer’s case — to determine that Bennallack’s 27-year-old friend and apartment manager Richard John Davis murdered her, The Daily Beast reported.

Davis, who died in 1997, was identified as the suspect last month.

Richard John Davis Photo by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

“Nancy was never forgotten, she was always top of the list,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Investigators from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department believed Bennallack was asleep in her bed she was stabbed to death sometime between 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 and the early hours of Oct. 26.

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Retired homicide detective Micki Links said Davis had entered her second story apartment through the balcony sliding glass door that was slightly opened, climbing up with masking tape on his fingers, KCRA 3 reported.

Investigators believed she tried to fight off her attacker due to her defensive wounds.

Davis was cut during the attack and police had found a blood trail from the apartment to the building’s parking lot.

The blood trail provided a DNA profile that was held in state and national databases for years, but no matches were found.

Using forensic genetic genealogy in 2019, the same technology that cracked the Golden State murders the prevous year, investigators matched the blood to Davis’ relative, who provided a DNA sample.

Though the motive for the killing remains unclear, Links said Davis lived on the opposite side of the pool from Bennallack’s apartment and had a direct view of her and suggeeste he may have been attracted to her.