H-GOLETA

May 5, 2011 10:16 PM by Ariel Wesler

DNA links infamous serial killer to Goleta double homicide from 30 years ago

New DNA technology links a notorious serial killer and rapist to at least one double homicide in Goleta nearly 30 years ago.

In July of 1981, 35-year-old Cheri Domingo and 27-year- old Gregory Sanchez were murdered in Goleta. Less than two years earlier, in 1979, 44-year-old Doctor Robert Offerman and 35-year-old Alexandria Manning were also murdered just blocks away.

Now, almost 30 years later, investigators say DNA evidence shows Domingo and Sanchez were murdered by the East Area Rapist, later known as the Original Night Stalker.

They were innocent victims in a serial crime spree that has become legendary. Now, breakthroughs in DNA technology prove an infamous serial killer murdered Domingo and Sanchez on the 400 block of Toltec Way in Goleta.

"There were bloodstains on the sidewalk leading to the bridge across the creek," said Roger Millikan, who's lived nearby for 40 years. He remembers the murders and says the serial killer's m-o seemed to be murdering unmarried couples.

"Some people were even talking about posting their marriage license in the window as a precaution," Millikan said.

Investigators collected more than 50 pieces of evidence from the house, but the case ran cold until detectives re-examined it with a better DNA kit.

"It goes and looks at the smaller pieces of DNA exclusively and allows you to get a DNA profile from a degraded DNA," said Colleen Spurgeon, Asst. Lab Director with the CA Department of Justice Crime Lab.

Investigators tested a semen sample from the crime scene and found a match between the DNA profile of the couple's killer and the East Area Rapist. His identity is still unknown, but now detectives hope evidence collected in other cases will provide new clues.

"There now may be a possibility to sift through that and determine if there's some linkage to our case, that we wouldn't have been able to determine had this connection not been made," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

Authorities have not determined whether the serial killer is also responsible for the 1979 double homicide of Offerman and Manning, but detectives are optimistic new evidence will emerge in the coming months.

The sheriff's office says between 1976 and 1986, the serial killer and rapist was responsible for at least 50 sexual assaults in the Sacramento Area and seven homicides throughout California. His last known crime occurred in Orange County in 1986. Investigators estimate he would now be in his 50s or 60s.

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