Authorities in California say a man has been arrested nearly 40 years after he allegedly raped and murdered an octogenarian in Oxnard.
According to Fox News, 58-year-old Lenard Chester was linked to the December 1, 1980, attack after forensic testing of DNA evidence found at the scene.
At the time of her death, authorities found 81-year-old Leah Sarah Bullis inside her home after receiving a report of an assault at the location.
The critically injured victim was rushed to an area hospital but died in the ambulance before arrival. During the trip, however, officials say Bullis was able to provide information about her attack — including that she was beaten and raped by the assailant.
Oxnard Police Sgt. Scott Aaron pointed to the importance of scientific advancement in solving crimes like this one.
“This case is an example of how the passing of time, advances in forensic technology, and multiple law enforcement agency collaboration come together to further cold case homicides,” he said.
Since the crime, Chester has spent much of his life behind bars, having been sentenced two years later to crimes related to the sexual assault of four female victims as part of home invasions. He was released on parole in 2008, as reported by the Ventura County Star.
Upon his release, Aaron said county prosecutors “conducted a civil hearing which resulted in Chester being listed as a sexually violent predator,” ordering he be “placed on a civil hold and receive treatment at a state hospital.”
As of the latest updates available, he remained in custody at the Ventura County Jail. If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.
[Featured image: Leah Sarah Bullis and Lenard Chester, Oxnard Police Department]