Killer, Rapist In Woman’s 1981 Slaying Sentenced To 24 Years In Prison

CBS Los Angeles

NORWALK ( — A man linked by DNA to the killing of a 21-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and strangled more than three decades ago has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison.

Joseph Allen Thornton, 53, was sentenced Tuesday immediately after pleading no contest to one felony each of voluntary manslaughter, rape, digital penetration by force and sodomy by force, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Thornton was also required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

He was charged in April 2012 in connection with the June 27, 1981 attack on Blanca Stella Negrete in Whittier.

Thornton was arrested in Auburn, Calif., after Whittier police homicide detectives re-opened the case and submitted sexual assault evidence that had been collected in 1981 to the Los Angeles County Crime lab for DNA testing, authorities said.

Thornton was identified as the…

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