Gavel photo courtesy of via Flickr

 A 76-year-old man accused of murdering a City Heights woman at her apartment more than a half-century ago was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on a murder charge.

John Sipos is charged in the Nov. 20, 1969, slaying of 24-year-old Mary Scott, who was found dead inside her home in the 4000 block of 39th Street.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg alleges that Sipos broke down the door to Scott’s home, raped her, and then strangled or asphyxiated her.

San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said the case went cold after “investigators exhausted all leads,” but was later re-evaluated by the cold case units of the San Diego Police Department and San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

At Sipos’ two-day preliminary hearing, criminalists from the San Diego Police Department testified that DNA left at the scene was tied to Sipos. Other men Scott knew, including an old boyfriend, were excluded from the sample, according to testimony.

Sipos’ attorney, Brooke LaFrance, argued it was “a leap and an assumption” by the prosecution that the DNA left at the scene must have been that of the murderer. She also questioned how investigators landed on Sipos as a suspect.

Lindberg said “an investigative lead generated through genetic genealogy” led police to Sipos, who was living on the East Coast at the time of his arrest. He was arrested Oct. 24 in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania.

Sipos remains  in custody in lieu of $3 million bail.

–City News Service