DNA Match Helps Solve 1977 South LA Rape, Murder
LOS ANGELES – Once again, a long–time cold case is closer to resolution with the help of DNA evidence. The LACDA’s office announced that charges have been filed against a suspect in a rape and murder that occurred in 1977.
60-year-old Kenneth Ray Matthews, who was 19 at the time of the crime, was charged with murder, forcible rape and attempted robbery.
The crime occurred on December 6, 1977. Leona Davis had put her two small sons to bed at their home in the 8700 block of Menlo Avenue when Matthews attacked and killed her.
The report states that he “fatally stabbed Davis in the neck in front of the two children,” aged 4 and 7. LAC Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee reported that Matthews told the two boys “not to look.”
The LA Times reports that detectives “ran a fingerprint found at the crime scene through the state’s offender database.” This in turn led to testing Matthews’ DNA “by recovering a discarded piece of dining ware last year.”
A conviction in this case will lead to either the death penalty or life in prison without parole.