A 75-year-old eastern Pennsylvania man will not contest extradition to California to face charges in the 1969 rape and murder of a young mother.
DNA evidence and forensic genealogy led to the arrest in connection with the death of Mary Scott, who was found strangled in her apartment in the City Heights area of San Diego on Nov. 20, 1969, police said.
Defense attorney John Waldron said he spoke to John Sipos in preparation for Wednesday's hearing in Lehigh County and determined that his client was clear-headed-enough to understand the court proceedings.
The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that Waldron said Sipos denies killing 24-year-old Scott, a go-go dancer.
“He has no memory of him committing a homicide,” Waldron said, noting that Sipos was honorably discharged after serving in the Navy in California from 1963 to 1969. “He doesn’t really recall much about that time, but a crime like that is something he would have remembered.”
Sipos was arrested Oct. 24 at his home in Schnecksville, near Allentown. Waldron said extradition may take several weeks due to pandemic travel restrictions. He has said his client has diabetes and has had three heart attacks.
Authorities said the killer kicked in the door and fought with Scott. Furniture was overturned and neighbors heard screams, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Scott failed to show up to her job at a club just blocks away from her home on Nov. 20, so a friend went to check on her. She found Scott laying in the middle of her living room, nude and unconscious.
Scott's sister Rosalie Sanz, who was only 16 at the time, remembers the night her family received the news.
“It was night and the doorbell rang, which was odd," Sanz said. “There were two men wearing suits at the door and I thought this can't be good.”
“I came out of my bedroom and I asked what happened and she [my mom] said ‘Mary was raped and strangled,” added Sanz.
Sanz is now 67 years old, and she hasn't stopped fighting to bring justice to her sister and the two daughters she left behind.
“I kept reading the last couple years about when they used ancestral or genetic forensics and they were finding these old cold cases and solving them, so I thought they could probably do that with my sister because I know they had DNA,” said Sanz.
Last November, on the 50th anniversary of her sister's death, Sanz reached out once again to SDPD for help finding Scott's killer.
Last weekend, almost a year later, she received the news she had been waiting for.
“Up until that point I guess I didn’t really believe it could happen,” said Sanz.
Police told Sanz Saturday morning they arrested Sipos at his Pennsylvania home on suspicion of murder in Scott's killing.
"I'm just really excited,” said Sanz. “I know I shouldn't be happy, but I am. I'm really happy."
Sanz said she hopes the arrest is a step toward justice.
“He just went on to live a normal life and have a family,” said Sanz. “All the things he took from her, he got to have. He got to have a family and grow old and she didn’t get to have any of that.”
Sanz said she was told that Sipos was living in San Diego and had just left the Navy when her sister was killed.