MURRIETA – More than 31 years after a Hemet woman was found strangled in her home, a man was charged today with murdering her when he was a teenager.
Shelby Shamblin, now 48, is accused of killing 67-year-old Elizabeth Crossman on Jan. 17, 1980.
According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Crossman was sexually assaulted and strangled in her Florida Avenue residence, but Hemet police investigators had few leads in the case.
Shamblin was identified as a possible suspect because the then-17-year- old had been hired to do odd jobs around the property by the victim’s husband, said District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall.
”About a month after the murder, detectives interviewed Shamblin,” Hall said. ”He told them he had been a runaway at the time and had not been at the Crossman home during the days prior to the murder. Detectives were unable to gather enough evidence to connect Shamblin to the murder.”
Forensic technicians took vaginal swabs and collected semen traces from Crossman’s body, storing the evidence until 2002, when Hemet police detectives submitted it to the California Department of Justice for analysis, according to Hall. A DNA profile was entered into the state’s Combined DNA Index System, with no potential suspects identified until last month, Hall said.
He said a sample of Shamblin’s DNA was collected after he was arrested on a drug charge in Homeland last Oct. 7.
When the DNA match was confirmed, a warrant was obtained for the defendant’s arrest, and he was taken into custody without incident Wednesday at his Homeland residence.
Because Shamblin was a teenager when the crime occurred, his case will be handled initially by a juvenile court judge, according to Hall. A hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.