It’s been 36 years since a California banking executive was found brutally murdered in his Claremont home—but authorities now believe they have identified the man responsible.
Hillery Marcus Dupleasis, who is already behind bars in New York for an unrelated murder, has been charged with first-degree murder in the 1985 death of David R. Evans II, according to a Wednesday press conference by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Hugo Reynaga said Evans, a 57-year-old divorced bank vice president and former school superintendent, was found beaten to death inside his home where he had been living alone on October 13, 1985. His cause of death had been blunt force trauma to the head.
“The exact time of the attack was not clear, but his body was discovered by Claremont police officers during a possible burglary call at the residence,” Reynaga said.
Investigators at the time “generated a few leads” but were unable to identify any viable suspects and the case eventually went cold.
Authorities took a new look at the case in 2006 after advances in forensic technology had been developed.
Investigators allegedly discovered a small amount of DNA left behind at the crime scene and fingerprints that identified Dupleasis as a person of interest in the case, but were unable to find enough evidence to proceed with the prosecution.
Reynaga said detectives were also unable to establish that Dupleasis had been living in California at the time of the murder.
It wasn’t until 2020 that investigators were able to establish that Dupleasis had lived in the San Gabriel Valley at the time of the murder. They were also able to link him to Evans’ vehicle, which had been stolen immediately after the murder and abandoned in Corvina about two hours later, Reynaga said.
“When cold cases are revisited by the unsolved unit investigators, they are investigated thoroughly until all leads have been exhausted or a suspect in the murder has been identified and arrested,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Dupleasis was charged with first-degree murder in Evans’ death on May 2. He is currently incarcerated in a New York state prison serving an “extensive sentence” for an unrelated murder and will be eligible for parole in that case in 2033.
Reynaga said Dupleasis is now awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, where he will be arraigned on the new charges.
At the time of the murder in 1985, investigators suspected the motive was a burglary or robbery, but Reynaga said investigators are now “leaving it open.”
He said there is a working theory, but he declined to provide any further details before the case goes to trial because he said authorities “don’t want to expose all our cards” at this time.
Cold case Detective Shawn McCarthy—who described Evans as “highly successful” and “highly educated”—said authorities do not believe the pair knew each other before the night of the murder.
Evans had been a Duke-educated school administrator who worked as a teacher and school superintendent before shifting gears mid-life and entering the banking industry.
He had been a “pillar of the community” who had been “liked by everybody,” McCarthy said.
Reynaga thanked the team of investigators, including those from sheriff’s office, Claremont Police Department, New York State Police and the New York Department of Corrections, for “bringing long awaited justice and closure to the family of David Evans.”