Accused in 1986 Cold Case Arraigned for First-Degree Murder

John William Kelley has been charged with kidnapping, rape and murder of a teen girl in 1986.


A Placerville man through DNA analysis was arraigned Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court.

John William Kelley was charged Friday afternoon with first-degree murder, with the additional special circumstances of the murder taking place during the commission of a rape and kidnapping, County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. A lawyer for Kelley was appointed by the court and he was ordered to return to court next week to enter a plea.

Kelley, 49, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the 1986 kidnapping, rape and murder of Annette Thur after DNA analysis of evidence from the case identified him as a suspect.

Thur's body was found down an embankment off of Skyline Boulevard, north of Alpine Road, in unincorporated San Mateo County on Dec. 9, 1986, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The investigation into the incident determined that Thur had attended a party in Boulder Creek early the previous morning. She left the party and intended to hitchhike back to her home a couple of miles away in Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County.

A tourist who stopped to admire the view from Skyline Boulevard found Thur's body, deputies said. The initial investigation determined that Thur had been sexually assaulted, but no person was identified as a likely suspect at the time. In 2012, evidence from Thur's murder was re-analyzed by the San Mateo County Forensic Laboratory and a DNA profile linked Kelley to the crime.

Kelley is a registered sex offender who has lived in both California and Oregon, deputies said. Following his arrest, Kelley was transported to San Mateo County and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on suspicion of kidnapping, rape and murder, according to the sheriff's office.

Kelley is scheduled to appear again in court to enter a plea on Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m.


- Bay City News Service

wolfone August 23, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Red: Here is the contact info for the Investigates: 650-363-4347 or email aarmando@smcgov.org or Det. Matt Broad at 650-363-4363 or email mbroad@smcgov.org. You may also contact the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Witness Line at 800-547-2700. I am very happy that our taxpayer dollars, funded this crime lab, that was able to analyze the DNA and catch this killer. Now her family can have closure. A murderer is put behind bars.
Patty Dee August 24, 2012 at 03:59 PM
As the mother of the wonderful sweet girl with her short life taken from her in such a brutal and horrific manner, I am discusted to see anyone illinformed on history and profiles of a repete sex offender/murderer-- filth scum such as John William Kelley. Be happy lady that you were not on his hit list and hug your children if you have any because you were the lucky one that got away!
Chris October 10, 2012 at 06:28 PM
weather or not it is still under investigation and has to make through court i know things look bad but this is my uncle and i know this is not something that he would do. im sorry for you loss miss but just because someone has sex with another. does not and never will make them a murderer! Just because there's DNA does not mean hes a killer. from what i know that girl was very promiscuous that night so good luck proving that my uncle was the one who killed her! it will all play out in court and he will walk as a free man once again just you wait
walt gafvert December 22, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I was the last friend of Annette's to see her living. I was the person of interest. I have never seen Kelley before and I will say this... Annette would not have had sex with a stranger... I know that much. She was a girl. We were all younger and crazier back then... but we were just kids.So again... I never met him... Annette would never have slept with a stranger. Hang out probably... but sex... no. Not with a stranger.
ASmith March 13, 2013 at 07:13 AM
I also know John & have known him for a long time. I've wracked my brain to think of any clues. I have none & I cannot imagine this could be right. DNA may be right but all that means is that they had sex sometime before the young lady died. Sex between two young people does not a killer make. Sorry mom but your baby girl's killer may still be on the loose.


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