DNA testing clears suspected Golden State Killer of teen girl’s 1975 slaying

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that the man suspected of being California’s Golden State Killer was absolved of any involvement in the 1975 murder of a 14-year-old girl through the use of DNA evidence.

Per the Fresno BeeDonna Jo Richmond, 14, vanished on December 26, 1975, while riding a bike near her home. Her body was found in a nearby orange orchard two days later. Oscar Clifton was sentenced to life in prison for her murder and died in prison in 2013.

Clifton maintained his innocence until his death. In 2011, authorities created a partial DNA sample from semen found on the slain teen. Since then, they determined the sample wasn’t a match for Joseph James DeAngelo, 73, who was arrested last year for his suspected role in a string of rapes and murders in California in the 70s and 80s.

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“The DNA analysis provides additional support for the conviction of Oscar Clifton in the murder of Donna Jo Richmond,” the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office wrote in their report“Therefore, based on the totality of the circumstantial evidence presented at trial and the subsequent appeals process, there is ample evidence to support the conviction.”

DeAngelo, a former police officer, is currently facing 13 counts of murder and 13 rape-related charges. Rolling Stone reported that it’s unclear whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty and a trial date is pending.

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[Featured Image: Joseph James DeAngelo/Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office]