Glendale Police have made an arrest in a 1979 rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman, officials announced Friday.
Barbara Ballman was found dead in her Volkswagon sedan on Sept. 21, 1979 in the 400 block of Edison Place, across the street of an elementary school. Ballman, who was found nude, had been raped and killed and had an apparent shotgun wound to her stomach, Glendale Police said in a news release.
Investigators found semen at the scene, but had no other leads because DNA analysis was not available at the time.
The case went cold until it was reopened in 2009.
The evidence was submitted to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s crime lab and a positive hit came back to Darrell Gurule, who was 19 when the crime occurred. Authorities learned that he had an arrest record including larceny and assault with Glendale Police dating back to 1973. In addition, Gurule was convicted of rape for a 1977 case. In that incident, Los Angeles Police officials apparently found him raping a woman while was he was armed with a shotgun. Police said Gurule served a short sentence for that case and was released before the 1979 killing.
Gurule, now 56, went back to prison and is servicing a life sentence stemming from a 1987 kidnapping and murder of a man during a drug deal, Glendale Police said.
A jury found Gurule guilty of murder on Wednesday, exactly 37 years after Ballman was found dead. The jury also found true the special allegations of rape, the prior rape conviction and the use of a weapon. He is awaiting a new life sentence and is also eligible for the death penalty, officials said. It is unclear when he was arrested.