What to Know
- Prosecutors reviewed a decades-old murder investigation after an attorney said she detected similarities to Golden State Killer case.
- The Orange County District Attorney's office agreed to review the conviction of William Evins in the killing of a 28-year-old woman in 1979.
- William Evins pleaded guilty to killing 28-year-old Joan Virginia Anderson, a mother of three, on March 7, 1979.
Orange County prosecutors said Friday DNA evidence backs a man's conviction for raping and murdering a woman in Fountain Valley in 1979, despite an attorney's suggestion that the crime may have actually been carried out by the suspected Golden State Killer.
William Evins pleaded guilty to killing 28-year-old Joan Virginia Anderson, a mother of three, on March 7, 1979. He was sentenced in 1985 to 15 years to life in prison, and he died of a heart attack in 2013. Laguna Beach attorney Annee Della Donna, saying Evins' family wants to clear his name, requested a review of DNA in the case.
She suggested the circumstances of the crime were eerily similar to killings allegedly carried out by accused Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo, who is awaiting trial on a dozen murder charges in Orange, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. An analysis was conducted of DNA evidence in the case and it definitively linked Evins to the killing, authorities said Friday.
"Our organization's first goal is to find the truth above all else," said Della Donna, who works with the Innocence Rights Project of Orange County. "We're truth seekers. We obviously relish the fact that we could find someone innocent who is wrongfully accused, but, more importantly, it is about the truth."
She said the request for a review of the DNA evidence stemmed from the unusual circumstances involving Evins' conviction.
"There were hypnotized witnesses and a jailhouse informant," Della Donna said. "So the evidence against him was very shaky. But you can't dispute the DNA, which is why we're glad they finally tested the DNA."