Richard Archibeque was sent to prison for the murder of his 17-year-old classmate, Mary Quigley, whose body was found on a chain-link fence at a park in Santa Clara, California.
On the night of Sept. 9, 1977, Mary, who at the time was a senior at Santa Clara High School, was picked up from her house by a male friend on a motorcycle.
The two of them went to a back-to-school beer party that was held at a house on the corner of Monroe and Market Streets, according to The Californian.
Sometime during the party, Mary’s friend left. When he returned to take her home, she wasn’t there. It was later ascertained that Mary had left to party on foot, heading to a friend’s house, but she never made it there.
The following day, on Sept. 10, 1977, Mary Quigley was found dead. A groundskeeper who arrived at the baseball field to work on the sprinklers discovered her nude body hanging from a chain-link fence in Washington Park, which is now called War Memorial Park.
Her clothes were found nearby, scattered around her body.
An autopsy revealed that Mary died of suffocation.
She had been stripped of her clothing—except for her socks—and dragged about 30 feet to a chain-link fence, where she was hung by her neck with the sash from her kimono-style jacket.
The autopsy also showed that she had sexual intercourse within 72 hours of her death, as semen was found on and inside her vagina.
Detectives submitted DNA evidence to the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory for DNA analysis, but there was no match.
Mary’s case went cold for nearly three decades.
Detectives got a break in the case in 2006 when the DNA
DNA evidence submitted to the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory for DNA analysis, which took six months, matched the DNA of Archibeque.
Archibeque was a divorced father of one who was working as a handyman. He spent three years in prison for raping and abducting a teenage girl in 1979.
Upon his release, he had to register as a sex offender and submit a DNA sample to the database, the East Bay Times reported.
“This is an issue where people are remaining in custody who shouldn’t be, and people who should be in custody are out on the streets,” said Gerald Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and the commission’s executive director.
“Most laboratories are not adequately staffed to provide timely information on investigative-level cases,” according to Thomas Nasser, director of Orange County’s crime lab and president of a statewide organization for crime lab chiefs.
On Dec. 27, 2006, Richard Archibeque was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail. He was “charged with one count of murder, with a special circumstance of murder committed during a rape,” according to The Desert Sun.
The victim’s mother told the Mercury News that she is “so grateful that the police and our society didn’t forget, didn’t quit looking. It doesn’t bring her back, but at least I know what happened, and that’s more than I ever had before.”
Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins said he was “satisfied with the arrest.”
“This was a heinous crime, and it cries out for justice, and that cry was heard. The nice thing about murder is that there is no statute of limitations.”
Following a nearly 22-week trial, a jury deliberated for three days in March 2009 before finding Richard Archibeque guilty of murdering Mary Quigley.
He was sentenced to seven years to life in prison.
In 2010, Archibeque filed an appeal, but it was denied, and his murder conviction was upheld.