Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 11ZF0125: June 20, 2014
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted yesterday of special circumstances murder of an 84-year-old apartment complex owner in a 1984 cold case. Richard Stanley Sandoval, 60, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape or attempted rape and faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Aug. 8, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-36, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 1984, 84-year-old Margaret Lenney owned and lived in an Anaheim apartment complex on Winston Road. Sandoval, then 30 years old, was hired by the victim to paint the complex but did a poor job and was fired. He returned to the complex on several occasions to ask to borrow money from tenants.
On the night of Sept. 23, 1984, Sandoval went to Lenney’s apartment, beat and strangled the victim, and murdered her as he raped or attempted to rape the elderly victim after causing her to suffer blunt force trauma to the head and a skull fracture. Sandoval then fled the scene.
Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers responded to calls and located the victim bleeding on her front porch. Lenney’s pants and underwear had been pulled all the way down and her shirt had been lifted to expose her breasts.
Based on the investigation, Sandoval was identified as a suspect and located the day after the murder two blocks from the crime scene. The defendant was arrested, later released, and not charged.
In 2011, APD began re-investigating this case. At that time, Sandoval was serving a prison sentence at California Institution for Men, Chino, for a 1985 forcible rape conviction. As a result of that conviction, his DNA was submitted to the State database. The Orange County Crime Laboratory tested DNA evidence from the scene and linked Sandoval to the murder. DNA evidence was not available in 1984. He was scheduled to be released from prison on that case on April 13, 2011. APD arrested Sandoval one day before his expected release on April 12, 2011.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff