Roderick Elias belatedly convicted of felony murder in 1980 stabbing of Kristen Swanson
In March 2010, we told you about a cold case that heated up with the arrest of Roderick Elias for the slaying of Kristen Swanson, age 22. She died way back in 1980 -- so long ago that her job had been at a disco.
More than a year later, the case finally reached a jury, whose members convicted Elias of first-degree murder.
Denver Police discovered Swanson's body on October 28, 1980 inside a 1968 Chevy Malibu in the 3800 block alley between Oneida and Olive streets. She'd been killed by a single stab wound to the chest, and she was also sexually assaulted.
Evidence was in short supply -- but the allegations against Elias charged that a man matching his description had been seen leaning against a car outside Summerfield's, the disco venue where Swanson worked, the night before she died.
Still, decades passed before the district attorney's office asked for a cold-case review at the urging of a Swanson friend -- and a DNA profile ultimately led to Elias, who was arrested in Topeka, Kansas last year.
A two-week jury trial later, Elias was convicted. He's staring at a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Look below to see a larger version of his booking photo.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.