DNA Links Second Suspect To 1987 Slaying

Thursday, September 28th 2006, 12:43 pm
By: News On 6

SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) -- Sapulpa police say DNA evidence links a second suspect to a 1987 murder that remained unsolved until an unexpected confession earlier this year.

Police Captain Jeff Gilliland says DNA taken from the scene where Rhonda Hardway's body was found links Vincent Partridge of Sapulpa to her killing. Partridge is now charged with first-degree murder.

Hardway was found beaten and shot to death in a remote area of Lake Sahoma.

Investigators had few clues until John Pingleton of Sapulpa walked into the police station in January and told officers he and Partridge kidnapped and killed Hardway.

Gilliland says the DNA evidence was needed to corroborate Pingleton's story before Partridge could be charged.

Partridge was in the Creek County Jail for failing to pay child support when he was charged.

Pingleton is to go on trial next month for first-degree murder in Hardway's death.