VISTA (CNS) - A Poway man convicted of murdering and raping a young woman in Carlsbad more than 35 years ago was sentenced today to 31 years to life in state prison.
James Charles Kingery, 57, was found guilty by a Vista jury of killing 26-year-old Julia Hernandez-Santiago, whose body was found on Oct. 10, 1987 on an ivy-covered embankment on Alga Road.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.
Prosecutors say the victim was walking home from a doctor's appointment when she was killed.
While a suspect was not identified at the time of the killing, DNA collected from the crime scene led to Kingery's arrest in the summer of 2020.
A few months prior to his arrest for Hernandez-Santiago's murder, Kingery was arrested on suspicion of narcotics and weapons violations, according to Carlsbad police. A DNA sample taken from him during the arrest was later matched to samples taken in the homicide case.
While Kingery initially denied knowing the victim, he later claimed he had consensual sex with Hernandez-Santiago, according to Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox.
One week prior to the killing, he was stopped by police and provided them with the address of a home where he was staying at the time. That home, which belonged to one of his family members, was located less than a mile from the crime scene, the prosecutor said.
``The victim's loved ones had their lives shattered by this horrific murder and have waited more than three decades for justice and some closure. Today they have it,'' San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement released after the sentencing hearing.
``This case highlights the important work done by our Cold Case Homicide Unit and the commitment of law enforcement in our region to solve murder cases no matter how much time has passed.''
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