Man faces death penalty in murder of elderly woman

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SAN DIEGO — A man accused of robbing and killing an 87-year-old woman he knew in her Golden Hill apartment last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges that could lead to the death penalty if he’s convicted.

body-crimeJeff Boswell, also known as Tom Reed, was ordered held without bail in the death of Blanche Griffin.

The defendant — who has a 1995 conviction for burglary from San Diego County — is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery.

Police said Boswell, 43, is the boyfriend of one Griffin’s neighbors.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Link said the victim’s son-in-law did a welfare check on Griffin at her home on F Street on July 10 after failing to hear from her for a few days.

Relatives found Griffin’s body and noticed jewelry missing from her fingers, other jewelry was missing from the house, and a computer had been stolen, Link said.

A deputy medical examiner determined that the victim suffered blunt force trauma to the head, neck and chest and was strangled, according to the prosecutor.

Within 15 hours of discovering the body, police located Boswell naked in the bathtub of his girlfriend’s apartment saying, “Shoot me, kill me,” Link told reporters.

Boswell’s DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails and on her neck, the prosecutor said. Police said Boswell was arrested Aug. 2 on unrelated charges.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later if Boswell will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.

Judge David Szumowski set a status conference for Aug. 22.

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