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Man Charged In 1998 Central District Park Murder After SPD Detective Re-investigates Case

A man convicted of a series of violent sexual assaults in the 1980s and 90s is now facing charges for the unsolved murder of a woman in the Central District in 1998 after the case was re-investigated by an SPD homicide detective.

On January 14, 1998, city workers found the body of a 33-year-old woman next to a bathroom in Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park in the 2100 block of South Jackson Street.

The woman’s clothes were in disarray and police found an unwrapped condom a short distance from her body. While it wasn’t immediately clear what had led to the woman’s death, the medical examiner later found she had sustained blunt force trauma injuries.

Forensic testing of evidence at the scene didn’t initially yield any results, but years later police received notification of a DNA match to a man convicted in four violent sexual assaults in the Central District. The four sexual assaults and the 1998 homicide all spanned a 20 year period, but all took place in a half-a-mile area.

Police had interviewed the man about the 1989 murder while he was in prison in 2004, but were unable to move the case forward. This year, an SPD homicide detective Rolf Norton reviewed and re-investigated the case, conducting new interviews with witnesses and the suspect.

Today, the King County prosecutor’s office filed murder charges against the suspect, now 56, who remains in prison.