DNA ties Las Vegas man to a mother's 1980 cold case rape, murder
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man faces charges connected to a mother’s cold case rape and murder from 1980, sources tell KLAS.
Paul Nuttall, 64, was 21 years old at the time of Sandra DiFelice’s death. DNA found under DiFelice’s fingernails matched a recent sample detectives took from Nuttall earlier this month, documents obtained Friday said.
On Dec. 26, 1980, DiFelice was found dead inside her home near Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway not far from downtown Las Vegas. The home is now the headquarters of the Las Vegas chapter of the Hells Angels.
Homicide detectives determined that DiFelice was beaten, raped and murdered in her bedroom. Her 3 year-old daughter was not home at the time.
Investigators collected several pieces of potential evidence at the crime scene, including “numerous black or dark hairs” on DiFelice’s stomach. Detectives noted in a report that DiFelice had light hair.
Detectives later found a drinking glass, which contained Kool-Aid, on a table in the home’s living room, they said. A fingerprint on the glass matched Nuttall.
DiFelice’s roommate later told police she saw Nuttall standing outside the home earlier in the day.
“Nuttall asked if he could sleep in the house, as he had nowhere else to go,” the report said. “[The roommate] said she could not allow that because [DiFelice] was in the house and didn’t know him well.”
Nuttall knew DiFelice’s roommate and may have met DiFelice in passing, LVMPD Lt. Jason Johansson said during a news conference Monday.
In December 2021, police obtained a DNA sample from Nuttall at his home near Farm and Bradley roads in the northwest valley. An investigator asked Nuttall if he wanted to talk about DiFelice’s murder. Nuttall said, “he didn’t know who [the investigator] was talking about.”
On Friday, Oct. 14, the DNA sample taken from Nuttall in 2021 matched evidence taken from under DiFelice’s fingernails, documents said.
“My cold case investigators had the pleasure of making the one phone call that every cold case detective wants to make — and that was the call specifically to Sandra DiFelice’s daughter,” Johansson said Monday.
Nuttall faces charges of murder with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, and burglary. He made his first court appearance on Friday.
Paul Nuttall is being held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for Wednesday.