|For Immediate Release
Case # 11ZF0125
August 8, 2014
MAN LINKED THROUGH DNA SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER OF 84-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN 1984 COLD CASE
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the special circumstances murder of an 84-year-old apartment complex owner in a 1984 cold case. Richard Stanley Sandoval, 61, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury June 19, 2014, of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape or attempted rape.
In 1984, 84-year-old Margaret Lenney owned and lived in an Anaheim apartment complex on Winston Road. Sandoval, then 30 years old, was hired by the victim to paint the complex but did a poor job and was fired. He returned to the complex on several occasions to ask to borrow money from tenants.
On the night of Sept. 23, 1984, Sandoval went to Lenney’s apartment, beat and strangled the victim, and murdered her as he raped or attempted to rape the elderly victim after causing her to suffer blunt force trauma to the head and a skull fracture. Sandoval then fled the scene.
Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers responded to calls and located the victim bleeding on her front porch. Lenney’s pants and underwear had been pulled all the way down and her shirt had been lifted to expose her breasts.
Based on the investigation, Sandoval was identified as a suspect and located the day after the murder two blocks from the crime scene. The defendant was arrested, later released, and not charged.
In 2011, APD began re-investigating this case. At that time, Sandoval was serving a prison sentence at California Institution for Men, Chino, for a parole violation. The Orange County Crime Laboratory conducted DNA testing, that was not available at the time of the crime, on evidence related to the 1984 case and linked Sandoval to the murder. He was scheduled to be released from prison on April 13, 2011. APD arrested Sandoval one day before his expected release on April 12, 2011.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.