DNA implicates suspect of woman murdered in Las Vegas in 1980


On the day after Christmas in 1980 Sandra DiFelice, 25, was brutally raped and murdered in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas police carefully collected vital evidence from under the dead woman’s fingernails. But the DNA technology that would ultimately solve her murder was decades away from developing. 

Homicide detective, Las Vegas Police Lt. Jason Johansson announced an arrest in the cold case. On Halloween, the suspect, Paul Nuttall, was arrested and taken into custody. 

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“I am hopeful that in some way, shape, or form this provides some sort of closure for the family,” Johansson, said at a news conference.


Cold case heats up

The murder case was cold for forty years. 

In February 2021, DiFelice’s daughter asked the police to review her mother’s case. She was hoping that the advances in DNA technology would make a difference.

At the time of the murder DiFelice and her daughter shared a home in Las Vegas with a roommate. The roommate was out of town for the holidays. And the name of the roommate was never disclosed.