Court upholds murder conviction in SF stabbing based on DNA ‘cold hit’

A state appeals court on Monday upheld the second-degree murder conviction of a man who was charged as a result of a “cold hit” DNA match 13 years after he fatally stabbed a San Francisco woman.

Anthony Hughes, now 59, was arrested in San Francisco in 2011 on
charges of murdering Lisa Valdez, 32, in her studio condominium in the Diamond Heights neighborhood of the city in 1998.

He was convicted of second-degree murder in San Francisco Superior Court in 2016 and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

SEE RELATED: San Francisco police make arrest in murder from 1998

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the conviction, rejecting Hughes’s claim that the delay in prosecution violated his state and federal constitutional rights to a fair trial.

Valdez, a computer programmer, was last seen on May 16, 1998, at a dinner she prepared in her condominium for her mother and three other people. Her body with 21 stab wounds was found in her studio on May 20, 1998.

Hughes was identified as a suspect through a match of bloodstains on two pillows with a sample in a national database maintained by the FBI. The identification was made possible through advances in technology. Hughes was also matched to a fingerprint in the victim’s bathroom.

The appeals court said the delay didn’t substantially harm
Hughes’s defense case and that prosecutors’ “justification for the delay was compelling” because of the new DNA evidence.

Justice Terence Bruiniers wrote for the court, “This new evidence amply justifies the delay and outweighs any minimal prejudice Hughes has presented.”

Julie Cheever, Bay City News

This story has been corrected to indicate that the victim was last seen alive and found dead in 1998, not 2011.

Bay City News
Published by
Bay City News

Recent Posts

SF police find more combustible materials at home of SoMa explosion suspect

After an explosion blew out the windows of a building in South of Market on Sunday, police searched the home…

53 mins ago

Woman who fell to her death in Muni’s Van Ness Station identified

A woman who fell to her death on the tracks of Muni’s Van Ness Station Monday night has been identified…

1 hour ago

UPDATE: Civic Center BART and Muni station reopens after flooding

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency have reopened Civic Center station in time for the…

2 hours ago

SFUSD employee found dead in San Francisco Bay

A 67-year-old woman who was found dead in the San Francisco Bay early Tuesday morning has been identified as a…

3 hours ago

Woman arrested after found soaking wet on Half Moon Bay beach with infant

HALF MOON BAY - A 36-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder Tuesday after San Mateo County sheriff's…

3 hours ago

Suspect identified in murder-suicide of North Beach music staple

The suspect in the murder-suicide of a man known for running a 1990s underground music venue in North Beach has…

5 hours ago