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Man convicted of killing 17-year-old girl in 1983 is sentenced

Updated: June 25, 2019 06:51 PM

The man convicted last month of homicide in connection to the murder of a Minneapolis teenager in 1983 was sentenced Tuesday morning.

KSTP's Alex Jokich reports 64-year-old Darrell Rea received the maximum sentence allowed under 1983 guidelines.

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RELATED: DNA links suspect facing sentencing for a Minneapolis teen's 36-year-old murder to other crimes

He received a 121-month sentence, of which he was ordered to spend two-thirds in prison. He was also given credit for 657 days served. He could then serve the remainder of the sentence - 1/3 of the 10 year total - on supervised probation.

Laurie Mesedahl, then 17, was choked, raped and beaten to death in 1983. Her bludgeoned body was found along railroad tracks in North Minneapolis.

RELATED: Man found guilty of 1983 murder thanks to new DNA technology

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has said that when Mesedahl's body was found beside the Soo Line Railroad near 28th Avenue North over 36 years ago, police didn't have DNA technology available to match to a suspect.

However, bloody clothes and semen samples were taken during the autopsy and preserved by investigators.

The criminal complaint in the matter stated Mesedahl was at a party on April 1, 1983, but was home by 2:30 a.m. the following day before leaving the house again. About a half-hour later, she knocked on the door of a friend's house, but wasn't allowed in.

The complaint said her body was found not far from that home, which was located at 32nd and Bryant avenues.

RELATED: DNA evidence leads to charges in 1983 murder

The autopsy and investigations indicated Mesedahl was raped, strangled to unconsciousness, driven to the train yard, then beaten to death between the train tracks.

Authorities have said that, ultimately, solving her murder was linked to developments in another case under investigation. In 1988, a woman in Minneapolis was picked up by a man, raped, strangled and assaulted with a sharp object, but managed to escape and had some of the man's blood on her clothes.

In 1993, new DNA technology was used on that blood sample, the county attorney's office said. It matched Rea's profile. However, because the statute of limitations had run out on that assault, Rea's DNA was given to police.

Then, in 2013, police asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigations to run the semen sample taken from Mesedahl's body, and it matched Rea's DNA.

The county attorney's office said Rea was arrested and questioned by police in 2015, but was released without charges. In 2017, enough evidence was collected to finally charge him.

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