Man Arraigned in Cold Case of Woman's Rape, Death - NBC Southern California

Man Arraigned in Cold Case of Woman's Rape, Death

The body of 38-year-old Leah Benjamin was found wrapped in a blanket in an alley on April 10, 2004.

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    With the help of technology, a suspect will be arraigned Wednesday in connection with the brutal rape and death of a woman killed more than a decade ago.

    The body of 38-year-old Leah Benjamin was found wrapped in a blanket in an alley on April 10, 2004 on the 10600 block of South Manhattan Place. Detectives took forensic evidence from the crime scene but weren't able to link anyone to the her murder.

    The trail around her death went cold for over 10 years until something popped into a criminal database, new DNA that led detectives to a suspect.

    Jaqwun Turner, 34, was charged in connection with the rape and murder of Benjamin after convicting another crime somewhere else.

    In 2004, Turner's DNA wasn't in the system, Jane Robison said, a spokeswoman from the LA County district attorney's office. When Turner was convicted of a separate crime in a different county, his DNA went into the system and allegedly linked him to Benjamin's death, she added.

    If convicted, the special circumstances of a murder charge during a rapes makes Turner eligible for the death penalty.

    Prosecutors would decide later whether or not to seek the death penalty, the DA's office said.

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