Man tied to 1993 Mesa murder by DNA sentenced to life plus 10.5 years

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Raymond Hanley (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections) Raymond Hanley (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections)
Debra Shipton was murdered in 1993 (Source: Family photo) Debra Shipton was murdered in 1993 (Source: Family photo)
Debra Shipton (Source: Family photo) Debra Shipton (Source: Family photo)
Raymond Hanley (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections) Raymond Hanley (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A man whose DNA connected him to a 1993 Mesa murder has been sentenced to life plus 10.5 years in prison.

Raymond Hanley, 64, was convicted of first-degree murder and arson in the death of Debra Kay Shipton.

“Nothing can change the suffering the victim and her family had to endure from the events of that day, but [Tuesday’s] sentencing demonstrates the resolve of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has in holding defendants accountable and seeking justice no matter the passage of time,” reads a news release announcing the sentence.

Hanley was indicted in connection with the cold case more than two years ago. He was already serving a 30-year sentence on a 1994 conviction of kidnapping and sexual assault.

[READ MORE: DNA ties inmate to 1993 cold case of Mesa woman's death]

"Contemporary forensic science and DNA analysis is allowing us to reach back in time and identify perpetrators of crimes who most likely falsely believed they had escaped justice," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said when Hanley was indicted in 1993.

It was Oct. 13, 1993 that Shipton's body was discovered on a bed in a Mesa apartment where a fire had been started on the balcony. Her hands and feet were bound and she had six gunshot wounds in her back. After an exhaustive investigation, authorities ran into dead ends and the case became inactive.

On May 5, 2009, a match was found between a DNA sample submitted by Hanley at the time of his incarceration on the sexual assault and kidnapping charges and DNA recovered from a cigarette butt found at the scene of the 1993 homicide.

The butt, according to investigators, was supposed to be a fuse to ignite flammable liquid in the living room and master bedroom.

"The cigarettes had burned down to the butts but had not ignited the liquid," according to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Detectives interviewed Hanley in prison in 2009. They said he admitted he knew Shipton but denied killing her.

[RELATED: Family finds closure after suspect named in 1993 murder case]

“In 2013, the defendant was again interviewed by Mesa detectives and admitted to covering up the crime by taking the murder weapon and setting the fire, but still denied killing the victim,” according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s office.

Last month, a jury found Hanley guilty of first-degree murder, burglary, kidnapping and arson. 


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