A man linked by a DNA hit to the killing of a 21-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and strangled more than three decades ago has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Superior Court Judge Yvonne T. Sanchez immediately sentenced Joseph Allen Thornton, 53, following his plea to one felony count each of voluntary manslaughter, rape, digital penetration by force and sodomy by force, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Thornton also was required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

He was charged in April 2012 in connection with the June 27, 1981, attack on Blanca Stella Negrete in Whittier.

Thornton was arrested in Auburn, Calif., after Whittier police homicide detectives re-opened the case and submitted sexual assault evidence that had been collected in 1981 to the Los Angeles County Crime lab for DNA testing, authorities said. Thornton was identified as the perpetrator through a DNA hit, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

City News Service

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