Richard Archibeque is behind bars 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’s friend picked her up from her house on a motorcycle and they went to a back-to-school beer party 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.
Police officials learned through an investigation that Mary, a senior at Santa Clara High School, had left the party on foot and was supposedly going to a friend’s house, but she never made it.
The following day, on Sept. 10, 1977, a groundskeeper found her lifeless body at Washington Park, now called War Memorial Park.
She was naked, except for socks, and her clothes were scattered around her body.
Evidence suggested that she had been dragged about 30 feet to a chain-link fence, where she was hung by her neck with the sash from her kimono-style jacket.
An autopsy revealed that Mary died of suffocation.
The medical examiner also ascertained that Mary 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 unsolved for nearly three decades.
Detectives got a break in the case in 2006 when the DNA evidence matched the DNA of Archibeque.
At the time, Archibeque was working as a handyman. He was divorced and had one child.
He spent three years in prison for raping and kidnapping a teenage girl in 1979. And when he was released, he was ordered to register as a sex offender and submit a DNA sample to the database.
A Santa Clara University law professor said, “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.”
“Most laboratories are not adequately staffed to provide timely information on investigative-level cases,” according to the director of Orange County’s crime lab and president of a statewide organization for crime lab chiefs.
On Dec. 27, 2006, Archibeque was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail. According to The Desert Sun, he was “charged with one count of murder, with a special circumstance of murder committed during a rape.”
Mary’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.”
A Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney stated that 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.”
Archibeque went to trial, which lasted nearly 22-weeks.
In March 2009, a jury deliberated for three days before they found Archibeque guilty of murdering Mary.
A judge sentenced him to seven years to life in prison.
In 2010, Archibeque filed an appeal, but it was denied, and his murder conviction was upheld.