SALT LAKE CITY -- A 58-year-old man has pleaded guilty to capital murder in the 1989 death of a Utah County woman in Salt Lake City.
Jose Ortiz-Garcia entered the plea Thursday in 3rd District Court, where he was immediately sentenced to up to life in prison and taken to Utah State Prison.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports his plea allowed him to escape capital punishment and prompted prosecutors to drop four additional felony charges against him.
Ortiz-Garcia was charged in the death of 62-year-old Lela Rockwell, whose naked body was found under a viaduct. She was beaten and strangled. Investigators determined she also was raped multiple times.
The Utah State Crime lab re-examined evidence from 1989 and the suspect's DNA was put in 2010 into a national database, where Ortiz-Garcia came up as a match when he was serving time in South Carolina in an unrelated case.
Last year, he was indicted for an Oregon murder of a transient that occurred just eight days after Rockwell's body was discovered. That case is pending.