In October 1985, 57-year-old David R. Evans II was brutally beaten to death inside of his own home. Now, nearly 37 years later, police believe they’ve identified the man who killed him.
The victim’s body was discovered by police in Claremont, Calif. after officers responded to a call about a robbery. The victim, who was the vice president of a bank and a former school superintendent, was divorced and lived alone. Clues were sparse. Suspects even more so.
Evans’ 1980 Chevrolet Manza was stolen but quickly turned up in nearby Covina, Calif. The case eventually went cold.
In 2006, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department re-opened the file and began re-testing evidence discovered at the crime scene through the help of “advancements in forensic technology,” a spokesperson said during a Wednesday press conference.
As a result of those re-analysis efforts, Hillery Marcus Dupleasis was identified as a possible person of interest in the case.
Fourteen years passed with little progress in the case as the ongoing investigation failed to directly implicate Dupleasis or place him in California during the time period in which Evans was killed.
In 2020, two detectives began reinvestigating the case with the help of the LASD’s Scientific Services Bureau, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at the press conference–leading to Dupleasis finally being identified as the prime suspect in Evans’ murder.
“In 2020, investigators were able to definitively determine that Dupleasis lived in the San Gabriel Valley during the time of David Evans’ murder,” LASD Lieutenant Hugo Reynaga said.
Investigators were also able to link the suspect to the victim’s subcompact that had been abandoned some two hours after the killing.
Charges were filed against the suspect on May 2, 2022. He is currently imprisoned in New York State where he is serving a lengthy sentence for an unrelated murder. Dupleasis will be eligible for parole for his Empire State conviction in 2033. He’ll be extradited to Los Angeles soon in order to be arraigned for the murder of Evans.
While the original police call and investigation assumed the motive for the killing was a burglary or a robbery at the residence, the LASD is currently “leaving [the motive] open” and not commenting on their working theory of the case in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation and not “expose” all their “cards,” Reynaga said.
The LASD initially identified Dupleasis in 2006 using fingerprint technology. Advancements in DNA technology aided the investigation and eventual prosecution. In 1985, Reynaga said, “there was no DNA.” In 2006, there was a trace amount of DNA recovered but the “numbers were too low” and the investigation couldn’t move forward.
The victim, it was revealed during the press conference, died from blunt force trauma to the head.
“We’re very happy that this case is being solved,” Reynaga said. “It’s a 36-year-old case. In 2020, had we not got a phone call from Claremont Detective Mike Snyder, this case would probably still be a cold case. So, he brought this case up to us. We were thinking this case was a dead end.”
[images via Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]
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