1975 Venice Murderer sentenced to potential life prison term

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A Los Angeles man convicted of murdering an 80-year-
old woman inside her home in Venice nearly four decades ago, when he was a teenager, was sentenced Wednesday to a potential life prison term.

Dennis Vazquez, now 55, was found guilty Sept. 10 of first-degree murder for the Dec. 17, 1975, killing of Alice Lewis.

Authorities believe Lewis was killed during a residential burglary,
according to Deputy District Attorney Guillermo Santiso. Her body was discovered about 10 the next morning by a nurse who took care of Lewis once a week, the prosecutor said.

Vazquez was arrested in September 2009 after a DNA hit identified him as a suspect in Lewis’ killing.

He 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.

A second man, Kevin Michael Shanahan, now 55, was also charged with her murder. Shanahan, who was also 16 at the time of the crime, 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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