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Bakersfield biz owner arrested on suspicion of '79 murder

BYLINE: KBAK - KBFX - Eyewitness News - BakersfieldNow.com
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Ventura County, CA

John Clark Russell is seen in a Ventura County Sheriff's booking photo. Russell was arrested Thursday, July 26, 2012, on allegations he committed murder in 1979.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield man was arrested Thursday on allegations he murdered someone 33 years ago in Southern California.

John Clark Russell, 63, is accused of shooting and stabbing 23-year-old Alma Zuniga, of Oxnard. Zuniga's body was found in March 1979 in a shallow grave in an agricultural field in nearby El Rio.

Bakersfield police said Russell was arrested in the area of White Lane and Stine Road in Bakersfield.

Russell has owned J.R. Janitorial Service on Fairview Road in Bakersfield since 1998, according to public records.

The case had long gone cold when Ventura County authorities reopened it in 2005 with DNA analysis. A few months later, a DNA match was made identifying Russell as a suspect.

Ventura County authorities conducted additional investigation in 2011, Bakersfield police said.

Russell was booked into Ventura County jail Thursday.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Don Aguilar said he didn't have information on an alleged motive.

"... it's likely they won't reveal one knowing that trial is ahead," Aguilar said via email.

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