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Bakersfield police make arrest in 1979 cold case murder

Police Chief Lyle Martin speaks about an arrest in the 1979 murder of Dawn Koons during a news conference Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

A long-haul trucker has been arrested in a cold case murder, the Bakersfield police chief and Kern County district attorney said Thursday morning at a joint news conference.

Dawn Koons, 18, was found murdered in her apartment in January 1979. She was naked and bound in her bathtub with a phone cord around her neck.

Chief Lyle Martin said DNA collected by detectives back in 1979 was re-examined in recent years with current technology, and the case was re-examined by detectives with fresh eyes, leading to the arrest of 60-year-old Prentice Foreman. A probable cause document shows the DNA in this situation came from semen.

“No case is cold to us,” said Martin, urging other families victimized by an unsolved crime to never lose hope.

DA Lisa Green said she couldn't comment on Foreman's connection to Koons or why they believe Foreman murdered Koons.

Foreman was arrested Wednesday and will be charged with first-degree murder with a pair of special circumstances for murder in the commission of rape and burglary.


Green said this case could qualify for the death penalty, but it's not likely they'll pursue that. The penalty otherwise would be life in prison, Green said.

The DA said there is no statute of limitations on a murder case.

The Kern County court website shows a dozen prior cases for Foreman, mostly misdemeanors. He's collectively been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison over the years for a variety of convictions, including drug possession, a weapons violation and petty theft.

“Do not give up hope," said Green to victims of cases that've gone cold. "We have not forgotten you."

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