ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man has been found guilty of killing a woman in her Cherry Hills Village home more than four decades ago.
David Anderson, 62, was found guilty Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the 1981 death of 34-year-old Sylvia Quayle, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office said. One murder count alleged Quayle was killed after deliberation, while the other alleged she was killed in the commission of another felony.
Quayle was found dead in her home on Ogden Street in Cherry Hills Village on Aug. 4, 1981. The coroner determined she had been stabbed multiple times and shot in the head. She had also been sexually assaulted.
The case went unsolved for decades. In 2000, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted a DNA sample to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System, but that sample remained unidentified until 2020. That's when Cherry Hills Village police began working with a genetic genealogy company. The company gave the police department a possible lead after the samples were entered into two public DNA databases.
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The next year, an investigator with the company went to Anderson's apartment building in Nebraska, collected trash bags from a dumpster, and found a soda can he had thrown away. DNA from that can matched the DNA collected at the crime scene.
Anderson was arrested in Nebraska in February 2021. The case originally went to trial in March, but the judge declared a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Anderson faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years, based on the sentencing laws in effect at the time of the crime. He will be sentenced August 4.
CBI records show Anderson was arrested multiple times between 1976 and 1988 and has spent time in prison in Colorado.
Quayle's killing was thought to have been solved once before.
In 1983, drifter Ottis Elwood Toole confessed to killing Quayle and was formally charged with murder. Toole -- who along with companion Henry Lee Lucas confessed to scores of killings -- recalled for Colorado Bureau of Investigation officials details of the crime, describing trees and hedges around Quayle's home.
However, authorities came to question numerous confessions Toole made, and many cases were eventually dropped.
Then-Arapahoe County District Attorney Bob Gallagher dropped the charges in the Quayle murder in 1993 after testing showed that Toole's DNA did not match genetic material believed to have been left at the scene by the killer.
Janet Oravetz and Kevin Vaughan contributed reporting to this story.
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