CARLSBAD — A prison sentence of 34 years to life was delivered on Jan. 6 in a Vista courtroom to a man from Mexico who raped and murdered a Carlsbad retired psychiatrist in 2001, and tried to rape another woman three years later in Los Angeles.
Alejandro Avalos Fernandez, now 34, pleaded guilty last October to the first-degree murder and rape of 84-year-old Gladys Conrad and also to the assault and intended rape of a 64-year-old woman who escaped his attack in April 2004.
According to reports, there were no solid leads of who Conrad’s killer was, until late 2004 when DNA from the attempted rape on the 64-year-old woman was matched to the genetic profile of Conrad’s killer.
The Coast News previously reported that the suspect remained unidentified until 2007 when Fernandez was arrested on a narcotics charge in Los Angeles. He had been released from custody before his DNA was entered into a database and matched to the two crimes.
“Science was able to solve that with DNA evidence. We were able to identify him in both cases,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeff B. Dusek of the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.
But Fernandez had fled to Mexico, and Dusek said it took until March to extradite him back to the United States.
“We were very thankful that Mexico cooperated in returning their citizen to the United States for this case,” he said.
Conrad was sexually assaulted in her Carlsbad-by-the-Sea retirement home residence on Sept. 1, 2001.
A friend of Conrad’s found her body the next afternoon.
Police said she had been strangled by a man who apparently got into her home through an unlocked window.
The attempted rape victim testified last June that she was walking home after leaving her work at a convalescent home when she was attacked at about 11 p.m.
She was able to fight Fernandez off by biting his hand.