Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Guilty verdict in 1986 cold case murder trial

 

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – After five hours of deliberation, a San Bernardino county jury has found a 59-year-old Riverside man guilty of first degree murder for the 1986 cold case murder of Nancy Klinger.

Larry Hite, who was arrested and charged in November of 2009, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18 in Dept. S-18 at the San Bernardino Justice Center. He faces 25 years to life in state prison.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, who is assigned to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Cold Case Unit. The Cold Case Unit consists of two prosecutors and two detectives.

       Larry Hite (Booking Photo)

Statement of Facts
It was Aug. 29, 1986, and 28-year-old Nancy Klinger left her three children with a babysitter so she could meet up with Larry Hite—a man she had met while tending bar in Riverside.

According to Deputy District Attorney Yoakum, Hite had told Klinger that he worked as an undercover investigator for the Sheriff’s Department.

“He said he was going to bust a black market baby ring and she could assist him by posing as his wife undercover,” Yoakum said. “He promised her she would get paid for the job. He had also identified himself as an undercover officer to others, even showing a badge.”

Hite was never employed by the Sheriff’s Department of any law enforcement agency.

That night, after dropping her children off, Klinger never returned.

Her skeletal remains were found nearly two years later in a dirt field in a remote area of East Highland.

According to Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, when investigators recovered the victim’s body in 1988, they were unable to determine a definitive cause of death due to decomposition.

During the initial investigation, detectives focused on Hite as a potential suspect but were unable to link him to Klinger’s death. Hite eventually relocated to Arizona, where he was convicted for assaulting two other women. Following his release from an Arizona prison, Hite relocated to Riverside.

Members of the Cold Case Unit reopened the case in 2009 and began examining the evidence and conducting follow-up interviews with Larry Hite. Eventually, they were able to gain a confession from Hite and link him to the murder of Nancy Klinger. 

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