COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – James Alan Neal, 72, went before an El Paso County judge Thursday. He’s accused of sexually assaulting and strangling an 11-year-old California girl in 1973.
Linda Ann O’Keefe’s body was found in a ditch. Investigators in Orange County, California say a genealogy website allowed them to match DNA from the crime scene to an elderly person living in Monument, Colorado.
In court Thursday, Neal arrived handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit. He stood at the podium with his family nearby. His family did not talk to media as they left the courthouse.
The judge explained to Neal that he has a right to a hearing that would determine if he is the suspect California is seeking. There can also be a governor’s warrant issued by the state of California, according to the judge. Neal could waive an extradition hearing, prompting an earlier return to California.
Neal’s next court hearing in El Paso County is set for Feb. 28.