A San Francisco church employee was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court today in connection with the 33-year-old cold case murder of a young woman during a residential burglary.

James Mayfield is charged with stabbing 29-year-old artist Jenny Read to death after raping her and tying her up inside her Potrero Hill home on May 18 and May 19, 1976.
DNA evidence linked him to the case earlier this year, prosecutors said.

Mayfield, now 63, was arrested Monday at the church where he lived and worked on Third Street in the Bayview District, according to prosecutor Braden Woods.

Woods could not confirm what Mayfield’s job at the church was, and church officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mayfield was arraigned this morning on one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, and special-circumstance allegations that the murder was committed during a rape and a burglary, which makes him eligible for the death penalty.

He was not charged with rape because of the statute of limitations on that charge.
Mayfield postponed entering a plea until an attorney from the public defender’s office is appointed for him. He is scheduled to return to court Friday and remains in custody on a no-bail status.

Woods said today that in March police obtained a hit from the state’s DNA database linking Mayfield to the crime.

Mayfield has prior felony convictions for rape in 1968, and for multiple residential burglaries, with the last conviction in 1994, according to Woods.

Because of the felony convictions, he would have had to submit a DNA sample to authorities.

Police and prosecutors spent the months between March and this week building a case against Mayfield, gathering further evidence and locating potential witnesses. There were no eyewitnesses to the murder.

Woods said Read, a sculptor, lived alone and did not know her assailant. Mayfield, who was also living in San Francisco at the time, is alleged to have broken into Read’s home, sexually assaulted her, hog-tied her, and then stabbed her to death.

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