OAKLAND (CBS SF) – DNA evidence has allowed Alameda County prosecutors to file charges against a man suspected of sexually assaulting and murdering a 13-year-old Oakland girl 38 years ago.

Curtis Tucker, now 63, was charged with murder Monday for the killing of Julie McElhiney on Aug. 9, 1974.

He has also been charged with the special-circumstance allegations of committing murder while carrying out lewd or lascivious acts on a child and committing murder during a robbery.

Oakland police Sgt. Michael Weisenberg said in a probable cause statement filed in court that McElhiney, who was a sixth-grader at Sequoia Elementary School, was found about 5:40 p.m. the day of her murder face down on the second floor of her family’s apartment at 3022 Pleitner Ave.

She was transported to Highland Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Weisenberg said an autopsy indicated that McElhiney had been murdered, and the primary cause of her death was determined to be blunt force trauma to her head.

The coroner also documented that there was an injury to the girl’s vaginal area, Weisenberg said.

The Oakland Police Department’s criminalistics team processed the clothing that McElhiney was wearing at the time of her death for biological evidence, and Tucker’s DNA was found, according to Weisenberg.

He said Tucker has previous arrests and convictions for sexual assault and burglary.

In addition to the murder charge and the two special circumstances, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Tucker with having a prior conviction in 1972 for second-degree commercial burglary.

His prior conviction could increase his sentence if he is found guilty of the murder.

Tucker is being held without bail at the county jail in Dublin and is scheduled to return to court Friday to have an attorney assigned and possibly enter a plea.

He was arrested at 10:45 a.m. on Monday at a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic at 2221 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland.


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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