Cole Mayer
Mountain Democrat

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April 1, 2014
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1980 Tahoe murder trial enters third week

The Placerville trial of Andrew Sanford, for the August 1980 murder of a teenage service station attendant in South Lake Tahoe, moved into its third week of testimony on Tuesday.

Sanford, of Carmichael, Calif., was arrested two years ago based in part on DNA evidence left on duct tape used to bind the victim, Richard Swanson, 16. The tape was also used to asphyxiate Swanson by covering his mouth and nose.

As the second week of Sanford’s trial in the old homicide case drew to a close on Thursday, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner read a stipulation agreed to by prosecutor Trish Kelliher and defense counsel Erik Schlueter that noted Sanford had several arrests in 1980, 1982 and 1984 in Anaheim, Long Beach in California and in Las Vegas, Nev..

When arrested on various charges, including auto theft, Sanford at times would use his real name and during other arrests would provide an alias, according to the stipulation.

Witnesses during the second week of the trial included Howard Stoball, co-owner of the South Y Shell Station where Swanson died, who said about $760 was stolen from the station office. He also said he didn’t recognize Sanford, and had not known him in 1980.

Other witnesses included Timothy Blakenship, who testified the last time he saw Sanford was a week before Swanson’s murder. He said Sanford wanted to steal from cars, but he didn’t want to join him. Responding to Schlueter’s questions, Blakenship confirmed he had multiple convictions for burglary, drugs and felony assault.

Also testifying was Richard Hartman, a former evidence and crime scene investigator who said, “The entire office was bloody.” That echoed statements he gave in the trial’s first week. Hartman also said that some blood-stained items in the office weren’t taken as evidence, adding that if all bloody items were seized there would have been no service station left.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 1, 2014 07:19PM Published Apr 2, 2014 01:29PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.