Arrest in 1981 murder of Joseph Azevedo

joseph azevedoChristopher David Winter was arrested for the 1981 murder of Joseph Azevedo (Nov 14, 1930 – May 2, 1981) from Lancaster, CA. Detectives believe that Winter was burglarizing Azevedo‘s mobile home and was startled by Joseph, an aircraft mechanic. Winter is described as a truck driver living in Indiana.

Armando Azevedo was 17 when he and his 9-year-old brother discovered their father’s body lying in a pool of blood. The case went cold for decades and was reopened in 2006 after advances in fingerprint and DNA analysis. Armando said he plans to attend the trial. “I guess I just need to know that it’s done and over,” he said.

Forensic evidence was gathered after Joseph’s death, but no suspects were identified. In 2006, the files was reopened and new DNA evidence led investigators to Winter. Insufficient evidence forced them to drop the case.

Four years later, Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives reexamined case statements and used modern forensic analysis to again identify Winter as the suspect. They presented their evidence to the L.A. County district attorney’s office, which last November filed charges of burglary and murder with special circumstances.

Joseph Azevedo, courtesy LASD

Joseph Azevedo, courtesy LASD

After issuing an arrest warrant, detectives learned that Winter was a long-haul truck driver living in Indiana and notified the FBI. Assisted by local police, FBI agents arrested the suspect without incident Nov. 6, 2010.”

Winter could face the death penalty.

UPDATE: Winter plead not guilty to murder and burglary charges however, DNA links him to the crime scene. Winter remains in jail without bail. He is expected back in court on April 21, 2011. Then it will be decided if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

UPDATE: Winter struck a deal with the Los Angeles County District’s Attorney’s Office. In exchange for his guilty plea, he got less than six years in state prison when he was sentenced on June 7, 2011.

You can read more about the investigation on this page from the LASD.

Rest in peace, Joseph Azevedo.