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A Placerville man recently identified as a suspect in a 26-year-old rape and murder through DNA analysis was arraigned today in San Mateo County Superior Court. John William Kelley was charged this afternoon with first-degree murder, with additional special circumstances of the murder taking place during commission of rape and kidnapping, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. A lawyer for Kelley was appointed by the court and he was ordered to return to court next week to enter a plea.
Kelley, 49, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the 1986 kidnapping, rape and murder of Annette Thur after DNA analysis of evidence from the case identified him as a suspect. Thur’s body was found down an embankment off of Skyline Boulevard, north of Alpine Road, in unincorporated San Mateo County on Dec. 9, 1986, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The investigation into the incident determined that Thur had attended a party in Boulder Creek early the previous morning. She left the party and intended to hitchhike back to her home a couple of miles away in Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County.
A tourist who stopped to admire the view from Skyline Boulevard found Thur’s body, deputies said. The initial investigation determined that Thur had been sexually assaulted, but no person was identified as a likely suspect at the time. In 2012, evidence from Thur’s murder was re-analyzed by the San Mateo County Forensic Laboratory and a DNA profile linked Kelley to the crime Kelley is a registered sex offender who has lived in both California and Oregon, deputies said. Following his arrest, Kelley was transported to San Mateo County and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on suspicion of kidnapping, rape and murder, according to the sheriff’s office. Kelley is scheduled to appear again in court to enter a plea on Aug. 28th at 1:30 p.m.
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