A 40-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to 26 years to life in state prison after advanced DNA technology linked him to the murder of a man who was found dead at the Port of Long Beach in 2002, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
Stewart Maua Teofilo was found guilty of first-degree murder on August 5. Jurors also found true the special allegation that he used a sharp stabbing instrument during the commission of the crime, a release from the district attorney’s office stated.
Authorities said that on June 24, 2002, a fisherman at the Port of Long beach discovered the body of 33-year-old Maurice Howard inside a car parked sideways in a parking lot. Howard had 41 stab wounds from his head to his back, according to prosecutors.
Three days before the discovery, the victim had traveled to Long Beach to hang out with a friend, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Winton, who prosecuted the case.
“Howard left his friend’s home early the next morning,” she stated. “Howard’s family and friends never saw him again.”
During that time, detectives conducted more than 100 interviews, but the case went cold, the prosecutor said.
In 2010, Long Beach police reopened the case and after several more years of investigation they were able to link Teofilo to the fatal stabbing by matching his blood and DNA collected from the crime scene in a DNA database.
Teofilo was arrested in Modesto, California on April 21, 2015 and brought back to Long Beach to face trial.
The case was investigated by the Long Beach Police Department’s Homicide Detail.