Man extradited to Denver in 1994 cold case murder

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — A man has been charged with the beating death of a woman found in a motel room in 1994.

Steven Cumberbatch, 58, was extradited from Virginia to Denver. He faces first degree murder charges in the 1994 death of Rita Desjardine, the Denver District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit announced on Friday.

“Violent crime cold cases are among the most challenging of all our cases,” said Denver DA Beth McCann. “This federal funding was key to building the case that led to charging Steven Cumberbatch with the murder of Rita Desjardine.”

Rita Desjardine

Rita Desjardine was 36 years old when her body was found by motel staff in a Denver motel room on Dec. 7, 1994.

Witness reported seeing a man matching Cumberbatch’s description leaving the hotel room before Desjardine’s body was found.

“I am proud of the collaboration between the Cold Case Units of DPD and the DA’s Office and the DPD Crime Laboratory that this grant is enabling,” said Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen. “The work being done under this grant is innovative and important for our community.”

The Denver Police Department’s Crime Lab got a break in the cold case came in July 2018, when DNA evidence connected Cumberbatch to the scene.

Funding from a National Institute of Justice grant helps Denver DA’s Office, the Denver Police Department’s Cold Case Unit and the Denver Police Department’s Crime Lab solve violent crime cold cases.

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