In a 36-year-old cold case murder, Carl Eugene Sears, a 71-year-old convicted s*x offender, entered a not guilty plea on Monday. He faces the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Cold case: 36 years after killing of Fresno mom, DNA links to 71-year-old sex offender https://t.co/xEfTg2HPna
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 26, 2023
On February 24, 1987, in the Pearly Grove Baptist Church parking lot on East Church Avenue in southwest Fresno, Sears is accused of s*xually abusing and fatally murdering 22-year-old Jacqueline Denise Henry. The arraignment took place in Judge Charles Lee’s courtroom with about a dozen of Henry’s supporters present.
As the defendant was led outside the courtroom by court bailiffs, a handful of them gave him icy looks. At the news conference where Fresno police announced his arrest last month, several of Henry’s kin expressed relief that Henry’s murder had been solved.
The corpse of Sears was discovered several days after being transferred, according to the police, from the church parking lot to a field across the street. When investigator Bartlett Ledbetter submitted DNA evidence in the case to the state Department of Justice, the case was finally solved after 36 years of detective investigation.
The test findings revealed that Sears matched the sample. Henry’s murder and Henry’s assault were brought against Sears, who had been placed on probation following a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2020. Police were able to retrieve his DNA profile because of his conviction.
The California Examiner is a must-read for anybody living in the Golden State:
- S*x Offender Tied to Location of Deceased Woman and Assault on 10-year-old
- Pastor in the Area Faces Charges of Child S*x Abuse
The arrest in the cold-case murder was announced at a press conference on July 25 by Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama. The district attorney’s office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty, senior deputy district attorney Kaitlin Drake stated following the hearing.
The bail amount for Sears, who is being defended by Christopher Irwin from the Fresno County Public Defender’s office, is $1.1 million, and he is still being held in the Fresno County Jail.
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