Big pic below.
Big pic below.

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.

Roderick Elias.
Roderick Elias.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Diane Caldwell killing: Kevin LeWayne McKinney charged with woman's 1998 murder thanks to DNA evidence."


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