Exactly 41 years to the day after Sylvia Quayle’s body was discovered in her Cherry Hills Village home, a judge sentenced her killer to life in prison.
A jury convicted David Dwayne Anderson, 63, in June on two counts of first-degree murder for the brutal 1981 killing of the 34-year-old Quayle. Arapahoe County District Judge Darren Vahle on Thursday handed Anderson a life sentence.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Anderson will be eligible for parole after 20 years, a result of the sentencing guidelines in place at the time of the crime.
On Aug. 4, 1981, Quayle was found dead in her home on Ogden Street in Cherry Hills Village. She’d been attacked late the night before or early that morning, authorities said. The coroner found she had been stabbed several times, shot in the head and sexually assaulted.
Following a serial killer’s false confession, the case went unsolved for decades until DNA pulled off a soda can linked Anderson to genetic evidence from the murder scene.
At Thursday’s sentencing, Quayle’s brother and only sibling, Jo Hamit, spoke to the court.
“I have found it necessary to forgive the murderer of my sister, however, I strongly believe he should be held accountable for what he has done,” Hamit said.
Hamit went on to say that his sister missed out on her life while Anderson got to live freely for the past four decades.
“I can’t help wondering what life would’ve been like without the death of my only sibling Sylvia,” Hamit told the court. “She missed out on life. He has lived for 41 years.”
Hamit explained that his grief long had been underscored by the fear of “not knowing who committed the crime” and seeing the toll it took on his family.
“Sylvia’s murder turned my family’s world upside down. My father found her that morning and he would never be the same again,” Hamit said. “The crime changed him in a way that was very hard for my mother and me to watch over the years.”
Later, the judge turned his attention to Anderson, referring to him as a “one man crime wave” while he was in the Denver metro area, referencing numerous unrelated felony burglary charges.
“This is the type of crime that keeps good people in any civilization awake at night,” Vahle said. “Forty-one years ago today, you snuck into these people’s lives and destroyed them.”
Still speaking to Anderson, Vahle said “you stalked her like prey” and “raped a dying or dead woman,” describing the killer’s actions as “appalling.”
After Anderson declined an offer to address the court, the judge sentenced him to spend the rest of his life in prison.
“You will never breathe another free breath, and maybe that’s just,” Vahle said.
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