1974 Cold Case Solved

These are the kinds of news stories that I like reading!  Curtis Tucker, who is a 63-year old veteran living in Oakland, California was arrested and charged for the murder and sexual assault of 13-year old, Julie McElhiney.  He was arrested at the Oakland Veterans Affairs clinic.  On August 9, 1974 her mother found her in the home deceased with a blow to the head.  For decades the case was cold, and there were no leads.  In April 2010, the cold case unit found evidence that might have viable DNA and submitted it to the crime lab for analysis.  Unfortunately, as on CSI, DNA results are not received in minutes, and many crime labs are severely backlogged with work.  This was the case in Julia’s case. The match did not come in until November, and they had to do additional tests to ensure that the sample was for sure Tucker.  Law enforcement also had to determine if Tucker was still alive and where he was living. 

Tucker has a long criminal history going back to the 70s, including a felony burglary conviction in Oakland in 1972 that sent him to prison. He posed as a deliveryman and broke into a woman’s apartment and tried to sexually assault.  Her roommate disabled him by hitting him in the head with a lamp.  An arrest for the sexual assault of an 18-year old girl in Washington is what got his DNA in the national database, however, it is unclear whether he was actually charged with the rape in this instance.  The wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, but it is a good feeling to know that this man is off the streets and he will pay for his crime.

On Monday, Alameda County prosecutors charged Tucker with murder along with the special circumstances of lewd and lascivious acts on a child and murder in the course of a burglary.

The charges make him eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek lethal injection.


  1. JunieTuney

    Too bad he was free for 38 years and is now 63. Probably having a tough time in the economy and now will not have to worry about 3 hots and a cot and health care. Even if given the death penalty by the time they carry out 20 years probably on average waiting in line time (if they carry it out at all) (but that’s another issue) he will be 83 or so and probalby either have died of natural causes or unfit to be executed because of mental or ageing issues.

    The wheels of justice turn slowly. Hey creation of jobs… More forensic science jobs in getting rid of these backlogs of DNA evidence and bringing criminals to justice. Better, safer society to live in and these offenders who are often repeat offenders are off the streets.

    PS … Make the death penalty faster. One appeal as per Sadam and turn their headlights off! So long fair well, scum bag… goodbye.

  2. PQ

    We have a case here that in 2001 the state got rid of the statute of limitations but they did not grandfather in older cases. The prison took DNA from inmates and one of the guys who was arrested in 1991 for molesting a 9 year old girl, his DNA matched 8 – 9 very violent rapes that occurred between 1989 – 1991 which classifies him as a serial rapist. Because the law didn’t allow for older cases when removing the statute, he can not be charged for any of them! So in 2021, he will be walking free! Friggin sickens me!!!

  3. PQ

    Junie I don’t agree with your 1 appeal thought. Too many people have been placed on death row only to find they were innocent all along. Unless the justice system can be absolutely sure that the person they charged and found guilty of a crime is in fact the person who did it, there should be no death’s happening.

    1. Prinnie (Post author)

      I agree. As distasteful as it sounds to some, the accused have rights. To take them away from them also means to take them away from yourself.


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