The long quest for justice in the 1981 cold-case murder in the Cherry Hills, first derailed by a false confession and most recently by a misdemeanor, this week with the identification of a suspect decades after the murder through genetic detective work ended.
An Arapaho County jury on Thursday found 62-year-old David Dwayne Anderson guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation and first-degree felony in the 1981 murder of Sylvia Quayle in his home.
“For more than 40 years, the defendant kept a secret with him, a secret that finally came to light during the course of this trial,” Deputy District Attorney Grant Grosgebauer, one of the case’s prosecutors, said in a news release.
On August 4, 1981, Quayle’s father found the body of a 34-year-old inside his home in the 3800 block of South Ogden Street. Prosecutors said she was raped, stabbed multiple times and shot in the head.
Police investigation revealed that the attacker had cut off the telephone line of the house by opening the window.
Two years later, a self-proclaimed serial killer named Otis Tolle, who was already in custody in an unrelated murder case, confessed to the crime, prompting the local police to close their investigation – although Tolle never got on Quayle. was not charged with murder.
But in 1993, DNA testing proved Tool’s confession wrong. Police then resumed the investigation into Quayle’s murder, but the case remained cold for years.
It wasn’t until 2020 that new DNA analysis pinpointed Anderson of Nebraska as the prime suspect in the decades-old crime.
The Cherry Hills Village Police Department and United Data Connect, a genetic genealogy company, began working together and, in 2021, an investigator with United Data Connect went to Anderson’s residence and collected garbage bags to obtain a new DNA sample. .
Prosecutors said the lab results found DNA from Anderson’s trash that matched DNA collected from the crime scene.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office charged Anderson with two counts of first-degree murder and was initially put on trial in March – however, after five days of deliberation, the jury was unable to reach a verdict and the judge ruled. declared wrong.
The retrial in late June ended with guilty verdicts on two counts of murder. Anderson is to be sentenced on August 4 and faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole 20 years later.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo said in a news release that they “hope that their small measure will bring some degree of peace to the family of Sylvia Quayle, who have waited more than 40 years for this outcome.”