Man, 63, pleads not guilty to 1975 murder of San Diego serviceman

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who allegedly killed a San Diego serviceman nearly 45 years ago pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Dennis Lepage, 63, is accused in the slaying of 28-year-old Alvaro Marquez Espeleta, a naval dental technician assigned to Marine Corp Recruit Depot. On Dec. 31, 1975, Espeleta was found dead in his home in the 3200 block of Reynard Way by co-workers, who went to check on him after he failed to show up for work.

“The San Diego police Homicide Unit investigated the case, but eventually all investigative leads at that time were exhausted,” Lt. Matt Dobbs said following Lepage’s arrest earlier this year.

Investigators with the SDPD Cold Case Unit, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service identified Lepage as Espeleta’s alleged killer by comparing the original case evidence against “emerging forensic sciences and technology,” Dobbs said.

Lepage, who was 18 at the time the murder allegedly occurred, was arrested Jan. 24 in Troy, New York.

Police and prosecutors have not disclosed Espeleta’s cause of death, nor the relationship, if any, between the defendant and the victim.

At his video arraignment, Lepage was ordered held without bail. He’s due back in court Aug. 6 for a status conference.

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