A suspect is in custody almost 46 years after a double murder that horrified Virginia Beach. Lynn Seethaler and Janice Pietropola, two 19-year-old women from Pittsburgh, were found murdered in their room at a seaside motel in June 1973. Pietropola had been raped, strangled, and shot in the head three times. Seethaler had been strangled and shot twice in the head. The killer, who had climbed into the room after removing a window screen, also slashed Seethaler's throat with a broken bottle. Police say 80-year-old Ernest Jean Broadnax was arrested at his home in Queens, New York, on Monday and charged with one count of rape and two counts of second-degree murder, the Virginian-Pilot reports. He would have been 33 at the time of the murders.
The Virginia Beach Police Department says cold case investigators "began aggressively researching a strong lead they had received in the case" last fall. Law enforcement sources say DNA evidence was involved. Broadnax is now being held in a New York City jail awaiting extradition to Virginia. The New York Daily News reports that Broadnax was arrested at an affordable housing facility for military veterans, where neighbors say he was a "very quiet" man who kept to himself. This isn't his first time behind bars: Police say Broadnax has at least 10 arrests on his record and has been convicted of crimes including burglary and assault. He was released from prison in 2013 after serving seven years for beating a man with a metal pipe. (Read more cold cases stories.)