DNA Links Infamous Trailside Killer To 1979 SF Murder
SAN FRANCISCO -- DNA swabs taken from infamous ‘Trailside Killer’ David Carpenter, who is on San Quentin’s Death Row awaiting execution for seven Bay Area murders, have been linked to an unsolved 1979 SF slaying, authorities announced Tuesday.
In a press release, the San Francisco police said its crime lab had determined Carpenter’s DNA match that found on evidence from the 1979 murder of Mary Bennett.
Bennett, was 23 at the time of her death, was found dead at Lands End, just north of Painted Rock on Sunday, October 21, 1979.
Dressed in a T-shirt, shorts, and jogging shoes, she was found in a wooded area, her body partially covered with dirt and branches. She had been stabbed multiple times in the neck, chest, and back, authorities said.
In December 2009, the crime lab examined the physical evidence that had been collected from the crime scene. A DNA profile of an unknown male was detected on the items.
The DNA profile was then submitted to the California Department of Justice DNA Data Bank.
On Jan. 4, COIDIS notified the crime lab that the DNA profile sample that was submitted was associated with Carpenter’s DNA profile that was on file.
On Feb. 18, forensic experts examined the oral swabs taken from Carpenter and developed another DNA profile. It matched the one on file with the state.
There was no immediate word if murder charges were going to be filed against Carpenter, whose arrest in May 1981 came after a series of murders terrified Bay Area residents.
Carpenter already had a history of violent crime was he was taken into custody in San Francisco’s Glen Park District.
His reign of murderous terror began with the 1979 murder of Anne Kelly Menjivar, whose body was found in Mt. Tamalpais.
In August, 1979 Edda Kane was found shot execution style on a Mt. Tam trail. In March 1980, 23-year-old Barbara Schwartz was stabbed to death in the same area and 26-year old Anne Alderson was found shot in the head after she disappeared while jogging.
More victims were also found in the Marin wildlife area -- Shawna May, Diane O'Connell, Cynthia Moreland and Richard Towers.
Carpenter then moved his killings to the Santa Cruz mountains where he attacked a couple in a wilderness park. Ellen Hansen was killed, but her boyfriend survived.
It was Carpenter’s next victim that led to his eventual arrest. Heather Scaggs, who worked with Carpenter at a San Francisco print shop, was discovered dead after she disappeared on May 1, 1981.
Carpenter was convicted of the murders of Hansen and Scaggs on July 6, 1984 and in a separate trial a jury found him guilty of five murders in Marin County. He was sentenced to death for the crimes.
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