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40-Year-Old Cold Case Solved

By: Sarah Liu

On Thursday, decades-long murder mysteries were solved with DNA evidence. Officials arrested 75-year-old Billy Ray Richardson for the murders of 4 women dating back to 1980. He was charged with 4 counts of murder on Thursday and is in jail awaiting extradition.

It started in March 1980, when a brother realized his sisters, Beverly, and Debra Cruse, had not been heard from for many days. They were found dead in their West Los Angeles apartment, which prosecutors say was from a gunshot.

In June 1980, another woman, Kari Lenader, was out with her best friend at a party when they were picked up by a white man who said his name was Ken. The friend was dropped off at home, but Ms. Lenadner decided to party with him. By 10 p.m., the friends were separated, and by 3 am, Ms. Lenaders' body was found.

The case turned cold even when reopened in 2001. By 2012, a $50k reward was offered for helpful information. Though the Los Angeles Police Department says investigators were given significant leads, what they still lacked was a name.

In December 1995, the body of Trina Wilson was found in Inglewood Park. The Inglewood City Council offered $25k for information in 2012, but the case was still cold.

Not until the mid-2000s was there another clue. The race of the suspect was determined with DNA which contradicted the original details. Instead of getting picked up by a white man, the lab believes the suspect was Black. Detective Marcia told the magazine, “instead of having one big, whole pie, I got it down to a quarter of the pie.”

Though Authorities have not given details on what specific evidence the DNA gave them, it has tied Richardson to the murders of “Kari Lenander, Beverly Cruse, and her sister, Debra Cruse, in 1980 in Los Angeles, as well as Trina Wilson in 1995 in Inglewood.” Citizens are relieved as Richardson was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas by detectives from the Los Angeles and Inglewood police departments.

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