Prosecutor May Seek Death Penalty In Cold Case

BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) – Prosecutors are determining whether to seek the death penalty against a San Francisco Bay Area man accused of slaying a woman whose body was found in a ravine 25 years ago.

Forty-five-year-old Gabriel O’Neill, of Brisbane, is charged with murder and the special circumstances of committing murder in the course of a rape, a kidnapping and an act of forced oral copulation.

Hikers found 27-year-old Sheila Hatcher’s body in a ravine on San Bruno Mountain in March 1989.

Investigators were unable to identify a suspect. The case, however, was recently reopened, and prosecutors say O’Neill’s DNA was found on the victim.

They say O’Neill, Hatcher and three other people went to the mountain to use drugs, and O’Neill sexually assaulted and beat Hatcher to death after the two walked away from the group.

A hearing on Monday to determine O’Neill’s counsel was continued to July 1.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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