A prosecuting team from the 18th Judicial District was recognized by the Colorado District Attorney’s Council for work on a cold case dating back to 1981 that led to a conviction in 2022. The team received the 2022 Outstanding Trial Team of the Year.
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The annual award is given to a team of prosecutors for remarkable work in solving challenging cases from the thousands of cases brought to trial throughout the year. The Colorado District Attorneys’ Council selected a team from the 18th Judicial District for their work in solving the 1981 cold case homicide of Sylvia Quayle.
The trial team includes Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo, Deputy District Attorney Grant Grosgebauer, Investigator Matt Hanagan, Paralegal Cathy Nevil, and Victim Advocate Colleen Vogel.
“Our office actually submits multiple cases, so it’s pretty cool that they chose this one out of the 30 or so other different cases that they submitted,” said Grosgebauer.
Quayle’s body was found in the early morning of Aug. 4, 1981 by her father William. As Quayle lived alone in her home in Cherry Hills Village, the attacker cut the phone line outside her house to enable her ability to call for help. Quayle was sexually assaulted, strangled, stabbed three times, shot in the head, then left to dieon her living room floor.
For nearly two decades, Quayle’s murder went unsolved until the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted a DNA sample to the FBI’s combined DNA Index Systemin 2000.
Two decades after the DNA was submitted, the Cherry Hills Village Police Department began working with United Data Connect, a genetic genealogy company. In 2021, an investigator with United Data Connect went to Anderson’s residence and collected trash bags from an apartment complex dumpster. Lab results found Anderson’s DNA on a soda can from his trash bag, which matched the DNA collected at the 1981 crime scene.
Anderson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, After Deliberation and Felony Murder. In March 2022, Anderson went to trial, however, after five days of deliberation, the jurors were unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office brought the case to trial once again on June 30, 2022. A jury found Anderson guilty on both counts of murder. Due to legal precedent, a defendant convicted of a single homicide can only be sentenced on one homicide charge.
“It’s the oldest case that’s ever been tried successfully in Colorado,” said Grosgebauer.
The sentencing laws in effect at the time of the crime have resulted in Anderson receiving the maximum sentence of life behind bars. He is eligible for parole in 20 calendar years. With the help of the Cherry Hill Village Police Department, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, DNA analyst Missy Woods, the trial team was able to bring forward a strong evidentiary case that led to a conviction.
“It was a true team effort. We couldn’t have done it without multiple different components coming together to make this case possible,” said Grosgebauer.
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