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New Mexico man guilty in 1980 killing of 79-year-old California woman

Gavel with Scales of Justice (FILE)
Posted at 11:29 AM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 14:29:01-05

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A New Mexico man has been convicted of raping and killing a 79-year-old woman in Southern California more than four decades ago.

Sixty-four-year-old Andre Lepere was convicted Tuesday in Orange County. He was accused of killing Viola Hagenkord, whose body was found in her Anaheim bedroom in 1980.

Authorities say DNA collected at the scene was reexamined last year and tied Lepere to the crime scene.

At his trial, Lepere claimed he'd had consensual sex with the woman —a claim that the prosecutor called ridiculous.

Lepere will be sentenced last month. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.