Murder suspect on run 39 years pleads guilty to strangling Florida mom, prosecutors say

Murder suspect on run 39 years pleads guilty to strangling Florida mom, prosecutors say
Murder suspect on run 39 years pleads guilty to strangling Florida mom, prosecutors say

A person referred to as “a pillar of the community” in a small California city seemingly will die in jail after taking a plea deal within the 1984 strangulation dying of a Florida single mother, in accordance to state prosecutors.

Donald Santini, 65, had been at massive lengthy sufficient to be featured three times on the TV present “America’s Most Wished” (1990, 2005 and 2013), officers say.

“The person who spent almost 4 a long time on the run … accepted responsibility for the crime in courtroom at present,” Florida’s Workplace of the State Legal professional, thirteenth Judicial Circuit, reported in a Nov. 16 information launch.

“Donald Santini was sentenced to 50 years in Florida State Jail adopted by 15 years of probation as a part of a plea take care of the State Legal professional’s Workplace.”

He was accused of killing Cynthia Wood of Bradenton, a 33-year-old who was going by a divorce, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Workplace reviews. She was final seen leaving her residence June 4, 1984, officers say.

“On 06/09/84 at 3:30 pm the physique of the sufferer was present in a water crammed ditch at Alsobrook Dr., Riverview,” the sheriff’s workplace stated in a information launch. “Post-mortem outcomes decide the reason for dying as strangulation. The sufferer is final seen with Donald Santini.”

Bradenton is about 30 miles southwest of Riverview.

A motive within the killing was not revealed.

Santini was captured in early June and extradited from San Diego, McClatchy Information reported. He had been residing in Campo, California, the place he served as president of a water board and was thought-about “a pillar of the group,” WKGT reported. Campo is in San Diego County.

“He eluded seize by residing below the title Wellman Simmonds in Texas and California, abandoning his outdated life and assuming a brand new id,” the Workplace of the State Legal professional reviews.

“Santini was featured on America’s Most Wished a number of occasions all through his a long time on the run however was solely found by federal authorities this 12 months when he utilized for a passport and his fingerprints had been discovered to be a match for the lacking homicide suspect.”

State Legal professional Suzy Lopez says Santini was scheduled to go on trial for first-degree homicide this month when he accepted a plea deal.

“No household ought to have to spend a long time ready for justice to be served within the merciless homicide of their beloved one,” she stated within the information launch.

“This defendant not solely stole an harmless life, however he additionally left a household with out their mom, and with out solutions.”

Santini beforehand served time in jail “for raping a lady whereas stationed in Germany,” and was wished in Texas in an aggravated theft case, officers stated.

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