DNA Links "Trailside Killer" to 1979 Cold Case Murder
David Carpenter became known as the "trailside killer" after the murders of seven hikers in the San Francisco Bay area in the early1980s. He was sentenced to death for the killings twice in separate trials.
Cold-case Inspector Joe Toomey said DNA evidence in the stabbing of 23-year-old Mary Bennett matched a sample belonging to David Joseph Carpenter.
Prosecutors haven't decided whether to file new charges against the 79-year-old San Quentin State Prison inmate.
Carpenter became known as the "trailside killer" after the murders of seven hikers in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1980s. He was sentenced to death for the killings twice in separate trials.
Investigators long suspected Carpenter in Bennett's slaying but were never able to bring a case against him. A message left with the prison seeking the name of Carpenter's current attorney was not immediately returned late Tuesday.
Toomey did not specify what evidence contained the DNA connecting Carpenter to Bennett's killing.
Carpenter was convicted of shooting five people to death in 1980 at Point Reyes National Seashore and Mount Tamalpais, both in Marin County. Prosecutors said he shot his female victims in the head after they refused his sexual advances.
He was also sentenced to die for killing two women in Santa Cruz County in 1981. The boyfriend of one woman survived and identified Carpenter.
Before the murders, Carpenter had spent most of the previous two decades in prison for assaults in 1960 and rapes and other attacks in 1970. Described by defense witnesses as a victim of child abuse who had a severe stutter, he was hospitalized for mental problems as a teenager.