Man sentenced to prison for 1975 murder of San Diego serviceman

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A former Navy man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1975 death of a San Diego serviceman was sentenced Tuesday to five years to life in state prison, though due to changes in sentencing law he’s expected to later receive a six-year prison term.

Dennis Lepage, 64, was sentenced for strangling 28-year-old Alvaro Marquez Espeleta on Dec. 31, 1975, at the victim’s Reynard Way home.

Espeleta’s nude body was found in the bedroom of his home by co-workers, who went to check on the naval dental technician after he failed to show up for work at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Lepage also was in the Navy and stationed in San Diego at the time of Espeleta’s killing, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

Per sentencing laws from 1975, Lepage received the five-to-life term, but the Board of Parole Hearings will be redirected to re-compute his sentence to a six-year term to reflect sentencing laws from 1976, prosecutors said.

Authorities connected Lepage to the killing through fingerprints and a palm print discovered on the victim’s body, and additional fingerprints found in the victim’s bathroom and on a beer bottle inside his home.

Lepage’s fingerprints were on file due to a 2010 restraining order violation arrest in Massachusetts, according to testimony. He was arrested last year in Troy, New York.

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