Man pleads not guilty in 1987 rape, murder of San Diego woman

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Murder during rape is a special circumstance, meaning no bail for the man accused of killing an elderly woman in her Normal Heights home in 1987.

Kevin Ford, 62, didn’t have much to say in court Tuesday, charged with the murder and rape of 79-year-old Grace Hayden. Some advances in technology and persistent police work helping make today happen after three decades.

The video remains just as chilling today as it was 31 years ago. Hayden's body was wheeled out of her home. Her neighbor told 10News reporter Steve Fiorina back then, that she was a friendly neighbor.

"She was loveable, friendly, never bothered, as far as I know, anyone," the neighbor said.

"Never went out because she was something like handicapped. She was a nice lady," another neighbor said.

The case went cold until a single fingerprint found on Hayden’s stove. And some hard work led investigators to an arrest in North Carolina.

San Diego DA investigator Tony Johnson was reviewing the unsolved case when he found that fingerprint. He submitted it to a national database and got a hit from a 20-15 warrant out of North Carolina.

Three years ago he talked with KPBS saying, “a case goes cold primarily when the initial team that’s investigating the case has run out of leads.”

Ford was extradited to San Diego. Tuesday, he was arraigned before a judge. A public defender said ford denies all charges.

Ford is due back in court on Aug. 7.

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