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Poway man pleads not guilty to murder, rape charges in 1987 Carlsbad killing

Posted at 12:26 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 15:26:33-04

VISTA, Calif. (CNS) - A 54-year-old Poway man accused of killing a young woman in Carlsbad 33 years ago pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder and rape.

James Charles Kingery faces 33 years to life in state prison if convicted of all charges stemming from the killing of 26-year-old Julia Hernandez-Santiago, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

The victim's body was found on Oct. 10, 1987 on an ivy-covered embankment in the 2100 block of Alga Road, Carlsbad police spokesman Jodee Reyes said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.

While a suspect was not identified at the time of the killing, investigators said technological advances eventually led to Kingery's arrest.

In March, San Diego County sheriff's deputies arrested a man on narcotics and weapons violations and took a DNA sample from him, as required by law based on his alleged offenses, Reyes said. Then in May, the sheriff's crime lab notified Carlsbad police that DNA samples from the 1987 murder case were a match for Kingery, who was arrested July 22.

A suspected motive for the killing has not been disclosed.

"When a murder goes unsolved, not only is justice delayed, but families are left in turmoil with no closure," District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. "Working with Carlsbad Police Department detectives, who never gave up, our office is bringing a measure of justice to Ms. Hernandez-Santiago's family and giving hope to other victims in unsolved cases."

Kingery is being held on $2 million bail. He's due back in court Sept. 4 for a readiness conference.