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Lancaster man charged in 1975 cold case killing pleads not guilty

According to the Lancaster County Office of the District Attorney, David Sinopoli waived his formal arraignment and pleaded not guilty on Monday, Oct. 17.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from July 18.

A Lancaster County man charged with the 1975 killing of 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler pleaded not guilty.

David Sinopoli, of the 300 block of Faulkner Drive, was charged with criminal homicide in Biechler's murder on July 18.

According to the Lancaster County Office of the District Attorney, Sinopoli waived his formal arraignment and pleaded not guilty on Monday, Oct. 17. 

A status conference is expected to be scheduled next. 

Biechler was found dead in her Manor Township apartment on the night of Dec. 5, 1975. She had been stabbed 19 times in the throat, upper torso, and back after returning home from the grocery store earlier that evening. Relatives discovered her body at about 8:46 p.m., according to Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams.

Investigators found blood outside the front door and entranceway, along with several other patches of blood on the carpet of the home. Her grocery bags were still on the table and there were signs of struggle throughout the home, police said at the time.

Biechler was found on the floor, lying on her back with a knife sticking out of her neck. The knife had a tea towel wrapped around the handle, investigators said. It matched the knives found in a knife block in Biechler's kitchen.

Investigators reportedly linked Sinopoli to the murder of Biechler through DNA testing. 

In September 2019, Parabon NanoLabs provided a composite sketch of the suspect in Biechler's case based on a DNA profile it compiled from evidence collected at the scene in 1975, Adams said.

The composites revealed characteristics of the suspect, including skin tone, eye color, and hair color, according to Adams. The sketches showed the suspect at ages 25 and 65.

In December 2020, Adams' office asked Parabon NanoLabs to proceed with further genetic genealogy analysis. 

Parabon's genetic genealogy research produced Sinopoli as a potential person of interest in the case, based on his Italian ancestry.

Investigators needed to collect a sample of Sinopoli's DNA to determine if it matched evidence taken at the scene in 1975. So, on Feb. 11, they surreptitiously collected a coffee cup Sinopoli used and discarded while at Philadelphia International Airport, according to Adams.

The coffee cup was submitted to DNA Labs International for testing, Adams said. In April, test results determined the DNA sample left on the coffee cup was a mixture provided by a single male contributor. The DNA was then submitted to Cybergenetics, a Pittsburgh-based laboratory that specializes in separating DNA mixtures.

Analysis by Cybergenetics determined the DNA on the coffee cup matched that of semen collected from Biechler's underwear at the scene of the murder in 1975. The match statistic was around 10 trillion, Adams said.

Detectives then consulted with a blood spatter expert to see if any blood left behind on Biechler's clothing would be consistent with having been left behind by a suspect, Adams said. The expert identified two blood spots left on the exposed part Biechler's pantyhose, and investigators submitted the spots to DNA Labs for testing.

The tests found the blood drops were consistent with the DNA profile left in Biechler's underwear.

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