DNA Helps Convict Man Who Killed Newspaper Publisher Almost Two Decades Ago

By: E&P Staff

A man who pled guilty to killing a San Diego newspaper publisher during a break-in more than 18 years ago was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Wednesday.

On July 28, Stanley Clayton, 39, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during a burglary in the Jan. 13, 1987 death of William Thompson, 61, publisher of Voice & Viewpoint.

Although the charges carried a potential death sentence, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had not announced publicly prior to the plea whether she would seek such punishment. According to an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, she said the plea was taken so that Thompson’s family could have closure in the case.

“He should not be released unless someone gives him clemency,” the prosecutor told the paper.

At the time, Thompson was the publisher of San Diego’s only black newspaper. He was stabbed dozens of times, including three wounds to the upper chest.

Clayton was serving a 35-years-to-life sentence on a burglary conviction when investigators used new technology to link blood evidence from the crime scene to his DNA through a statewide database.

The investigation into the publisher’s death was then re-opened in 2003.

“Our suspicion is he acted alone,” Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek told the Union-Tribune. “The case would not have been solved without DNA and the computers.”

The life sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge David Danielsen will be served consecutively to the sentence for the burglary.

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