|For Immediate Release
December 1, 2006
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 292-2718 Cell
MAN LINKED BY DNA CONVICTED OF 1972 COLD CASE MURDER OF A STANTON WIFE AND MOTHER
SANTA ANA – The man who murdered a Stanton wife and mother in 1972 was convicted today of 1st degree murder. Edwin Dean Richardson, 70, of Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, Ohio, pled guilty and faces a possible sentence of life in prison, as was the maximum penalty for murder in 1972. He is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-50, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In the early morning of October 29, 1972, Marla Hires, 23, of Stanton left the house in her blue 1971 Mazda RX2 two-door sedan. She was wearing a purple blouse, brown flare pants, and a pair of brown heels to match her brown purse. This Stanton mother of a two-year-old got up before sunrise, as she often did, to do extra work as a claims adjuster at Southern California Edison located in Rosemead. Mrs. Hires was reported missing by her parents and her husband that night.
The defendant pled guilty to raping and strangling Mrs. Hires before wrapping her up in old pieces of drapery and carpet, and casting her out like garbage down an embankment in Yorba Linda. Mrs. Hires’ lifeless body was found on the side of Imperial Highway near Kellogg Drive in Yorba Linda the next morning. He dumped her car at a Sumitomo bank in Stanton near where he lived and worked.
Earlier in 1972, the California Supreme Court had ruled the death penalty unconstitutional stating it was “cruel and unusual.” In 1977, the death penalty in California was reinstituted. The defendant could not be charged with rape because of statute of limitations has run.
The DNA technology that linked Richardson to the murder did not exist in 1972. The FBI did not conduct forensic DNA analysis until 1988. Orange County did not conduct forensic DNA analysis until the early 1990s. “As technology gets better, it is becoming increasingly difficult to commit crimes without leaving forensic clues. If `Jack the Ripper’ had committed the crimes today instead of in 1888, he would have been caught and convicted,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Technology caught up with Richardson. Now Mrs. Hires’ family can have some closure knowing that the person who brutally raped and murdered her will die in prison.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated and put together the cold case through DNA evidence which was linked to the defendant, who was in prison for murdering another young woman named Joanna Boughner. Richardson was charged with murder on November 30, 2004 by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. He was transported from Pickway Correctional Institution for trial in the Orange County case. He is a sentenced prisoner in Ohio and would have been eligible for parole starting in 2010.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jim Tanizaki is prosecuting this case.