A 57-year-old man who had been serving a lengthy sentence in Nevada for a sexual assault conviction was arraigned on Friday on special circumstances murder charges for the 1981 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in West Oakland.
Jewel Collins is charged with murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during the rape for allegedly assaulting and killing the girl, who wasn’t named in court documents, on Dec. 23 or Dec. 24 in 1981.
Oakland police and Alameda County prosecutors said the girl was found stabbed to death in a dirt lot next to Lowell Park on the morning of Dec. 24, 1981, and showed signs of having been sexually assaulted.
Authorities said biological evidence collected at the time of the murder was eventually matched to Collins when Nevada uploaded his DNA profile to the national database last year.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement:
“The Oakland Police Department and the FBI never gave up on solving this tragic killing.”
“The young victim’s family has had to endure decades of grief and we hope that this prosecution will provide at least a sense of closure and relief that justice will be served.”
The FBI helped the Oakland Police Department with the investigation as part of the FBI’s cold case initiative in Oakland, according to O’Malley.
Collins, who formerly worked as a janitor according to jail records, was charged last Sept. 4 but wasn’t arraigned until Friday because he wasn’t extradited to Alameda County until last week.
Collins, who’s now being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, waived his right to a speedy trial and is scheduled to return to court on May 8 to enter a plea.
Oakland police Officer Phong Tran wrote in a probable cause statement that when investigators interviewed Collins he “provided conflicting evidence of the physical evidence” in the case.
“Collins denied all knowledge of the victim or ever having any relationship or contact with the victim while she was alive in 1981.”