LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County man was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder for the 1979 slaying of a Torrance nurse he had dated earlier that year.
Douglas Gordon Bradford, now 62, was convicted by a jury of seven men and five women who deliberated just over two days in the Aug. 29, 1979 killing of Lynne Knight, who worked as a neonatal nurse at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance.
Authorities said that 28-year-old Knight was stabbed more than 15 times and strangled with a homemade wire garrote, which was later found near her body in her small Anza Avenue apartment. One of her breasts was also mutilated post-mortem by a knife.
Prosecutors told the jury that Bradford, who was then a California State Long Beach engineering student, was angry about the couple's break-up for almost three months before he made the garrote, stalked Knight, snuck into her house and attacked her as she slept. Bradford tried to manufacture an alibi that he was out sailing that night, prosecutors said.
Bradford's defense attorney, Robert Shapiro, said in closing arguments that the case had not been proven and that there were lapses in evidence collection.
"This is unequivocally the worst investigation…the worst collection of evidence that I've ever seen," Shapiro said.
Deputy District Attorney John Lewin, in rebuttal arguments, said that Bradford's alibi that he started out under sail and ended up returning under "paddle power" due to lack of wind was "completely made up and fabricated."
Lewin said "old-fashioned police work" by Torrance Police's Cold Case Unit eventually cracked the case, which was filed in May 2009.
Bradford, who lives in Costa Mesa, had been out on bail during the trail. He was immediately taken into custody after the verdict was read.
"He got to live a life he never should have had," Lewin said.
Bradford, who is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 10, faces 26 years to life in prison.
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