Man convicted for 1975 murder of 80-year-old Venice woman

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A Los Angeles man was convicted on Wednesday of murdering an 80-year-old woman who was strangled inside her home in Venice nearly four decades ago, when the defendant was a teenager.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about 90 minutes before convicting Dennis Vazquez, 55, of the Dec. 17, 1975, killing of Alice Lewis.

Prosecutors believe Lewis was killed during a residential burglary, according to Deputy District Attorney Guillermo Santiso.

Lewis’ body was discovered about 10 a.m. the next morning by a nurse who took care of her once a week, the prosecutor said.

Vazquez was arrested in September 2009, after a DNA hit identified him as a suspect in Lewis’ killing, authorities said. Vazquez had been required to provide a DNA sample following his April 2009 arrest in an unrelated case.

Vazquez — who was a week away from turning 17 at the time of the crime — lived one street away from the victim. He is facing up to life in prison when he returns for sentencing Nov. 5 before Judge Elden Fox.

A second man, Kevin Michael Shanahan, now 54, was also charged with her murder. Shanahan, who was also 16 at the time of the crime and lived on the same street, was sent to Patton State Hospital after a judge ruled that he was incompetent to stand trial, according to the prosecutor.

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