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Jury fails to reach verdict in 1981 cold case killing, sex assault in Cherry Hills Village

David Anderson was charged in 2021 with the death of Sylvia Quayle. A new trial date has been set for June.

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Following a five-day trial in Arapahoe County, jurors failed to reach a verdict in the case of a man arrested and charged last year with the 1981 sexual assault and death of a woman in Cherry Hills Village.

Judge Darren Vahle subsequently declared a mistrial and a new trial date was set for June of this year for David Anderson related to the death of 34-year-old Sylvia Quayle.

She was likely killed by someone who broke into her home overnight between Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, according to Cherry Hills Village Police Department.

Anderson was linked to the crime through DNA last year and faces two counts of first-degree murder, according to court records. One count alleges Quayle was killed after deliberation; the other alleges she was killed in the commission of another felony. His jury trial began March 1 and a week later on March 8, jury members informed the judge they could not reach a consensus.

His new trial is set for June 27.

Anderson will be prosecuted under 1981 laws, according to 18th Judicial District District Attorney John Kellner. That means Anderson would be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of a first-degree murder charge, but with the chance for parole after 20 years. Current laws do not allow for parole.

Credit: Cherry Hills Village PD
David Anderson in 1980

According to an arrest affidavit, Quayle, an Englewood High School graduate spoke with her younger sister around 11 p.m. on Aug. 3 and was found dead by her father who lived nearby shortly before 8 a.m. on Aug. 4 inside her home in the 3800 block of S. Ogden Street.

The coroner said Quayle was stabbed multiple times in the chest and shot in the head, the affidavit says, and her cause of death was listed as blood loss due to the stab wounds that pierced her heart and lungs. A gunshot wound was also listed as a secondary cause of death, the document reads.

RELATED: DNA from Vanilla Coke can ties Nebraska man to Cherry Hills Village cold case

In 2000, a DNA sample was submitted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation into the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  The sample remained unidentified for more than 20 years until police said it was linked to Anderson in Jan. 2021.

A full year prior, in January 2020, CHVPD began working with United Data Connect, a genetic genealogy company. They became involved in this case after a suspect was identified in a Jefferson County cold case.

Members of the company met with police in May 2020 and gave the department a lead about the potential source of unknown male DNA. Samples from the crime scene were uploaded to two public DNA databases, including GED Match and Family Tree DNA.  

Credit: ACSO
David Anderson

In Jan. 2021, a United Data Connect Investigator traveled to Cozad, Nebraska to secretly collect DNA from Anderson, the affidavit says. 

That investigator recovered two separate trash bags that were abandoned in the apartment complex dumpster where Anderson lived, according to the affidavit. Inside the bags was mail and bills belonging to Anderson, the affidavit says, and about 15 items were collected for potential DNA testing.

The following items were submitted for DNA testing:

  • Vanilla Coke can
  • Great Value water bottle
  • Spiced Rum bottle
  • Michelob Ultra Bottle

A week later, lab results showed that DNA from the Vanilla Coke can matched multiple items that were found at the Quyale crime scene.

Police requested an arrest warrant for Anderson, who was taken into custody on Feb. 10, 2021, in Nebraska.

Janet Oravetz and Kevin Vaughn contributed to the reporting of this story.

Credit: CHVPD
Sylvia Quayle

RELATED: Judge orders trial for 70 year-old suspect in 1982 Breckenridge double murder

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