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SACRAMENTO MAN TO FACE MURDER CHARGE IN '78 SLAYING.

Byline: Marci Wormser Staff Writer

A 55-year-old Sacramento man was ordered to stand trial on charges he sexually assaulted and murdered a former Miss Rosamond in 1978, based on DNA evidence prosecutors said was left at the scene.

Larry Kusuth Hazlett was ordered to stand trial in Kern County Superior Court after prosecutors presented evidence Tuesday that samples of the defendant's DNA matched stains found on Tana Woolley's bedspread the night she was killed. The odds of the body fluid stains found on Woolley's bedspread not belonging to Hazlett are 600 billion-to-1, prosecutors said.

District Attorney Edward Jagels said Hazlett told law officials before his arrest that he did not know Wooley, an Antelope Valley College student and NASA secretary.

Hazlett, who lived in Woolley's apartment building in Rosamond at the time of her slaying, was tapped immediately as the prime suspect, but investigators said they lacked evidence to arrest him.

After working on the case for six years, investigators relegated it to inactive status - still unsolved, but not being investigated actively.

Detective Chris Speer reactivated the case in March 1999 - partly in response to the Woolley family's regular telephone calls inquiring if any news had turned up.

Woolley's parents still live in Rosamond.

After reading the old files, the detective contacted Hazlett in Sacramento, where the suspect was living with his wife, and persuaded him to submit blood and hair samples.

Those samples were sent to the Kern County District Attorney's crime lab, which determined DNA evidence from the crime scene matched the DNA profile of Hazlett, detectives said.

Kern County detectives obtained a warrant and went to Sacramento. They arrested Hazlett at his home and transported him back to Kern County.

Woolley was found dead Oct. 25, 1978, in her apartment in the 2100 block of Poplar Street in Rosamond. Neighbors reported hearing a scream the night before, officials said. Coroner's reports indicated she'd been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Woolley graduated from Rosamond High School in 1976, the year she was crowned Miss Rosamond. She had been working as a secretary for National Aeronautics and Space Administration while attending Antelope Valley College when she was killed.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 13, 2003
Words:358
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