63-year-old Oakland man pleads not guilty for 1974 molestation and killing of teen girl
Posted: 04/23/2012 04:04:02 PM PDT
Updated: 04/24/2012 09:06:14 AM PDT
OAKLAND -- A 63-year-old ex-convict pleaded not guilty Monday to a special-circumstances murder charge in which he is accused of molesting and then killing a 13-year-old girl more than 37 years ago.
Curtis J. Tucker stood silent as his attorney entered the plea in the slaying of Julie McElhiney in a bathroom of the girl's home.
McElhiney, a sixth-grader at Bret Harte Junior High School, was found dead Aug. 9, 1974, by her mother in the family's home in the 3000 block of Pleitner Avenue. The girl had been beaten to death and molested, police said.
Tucker, an Army veteran, was arrested in March at an Oakland Veterans Affairs clinic after the Oakland Police Department's cold case unit matched DNA preserved from the crime scene to Tucker's DNA in a central database.
Police said Tucker has a criminal record going back to the 1970s, including a 1972 felony burglary conviction for which he spent time in prison.
Tucker also has been arrested in other states, including Washington, which led to him being identified as the killer in the McElhiney case.
The Washington case, an arrest in a 1978 rape, led to Tucker's DNA being placed in a national database. That database was then matched to DNA found at the crime scene in Oakland and a match was made.
Tucker has refused to talk to investigators.
The case will continue on May 21.