Man convicted Tuesday in girl’s rape from 26 years ago

Judges gavel

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – It took a jury 15 minutes to decide on a case that took 26 years to go to trial. The case involved a 13-year-old girl who was raped in her home after school by a masked man.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the jury chose to convict 58-year-old Joseph Blea Tuesday.

Blea had been accused of raping the girl in her living room while her mother was at work. Police investigated and the girl had been examined at University of New Mexico Hospital, where a rape kit was used.

It wasn’t until 2010 that forensic analysis of the sperm cells collected led to a search warrant for Blea.

Blea’s attorneys say he has actively been researching the statute of limitations.

His sentencing is scheduled for Monday.

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