October 8, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced today that James Mayfield, age 67, was convicted of first degree murder. This prosecution was made possible by cold hit DNA evidence from the 1976 murder of Jenny Read.

“This defendant took a life in cold-blood,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Thanks to technological advances and DNA evidence, James Mayfield will spend the rest of his life in prison for the atrocious acts he committed nearly 40 years ago.”

According to court testimony, James Mayfield viciously stabbed 29-year old artist Jenny Read to death after raping her and tying her up inside her Portrero Hill home. Ms. Read was found stabbed 13 times with her arms bound behind her back on May 19th, 1976. She was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home the previous day. DNA evidence from the case was preserved and subsequently tested. In 2009, the preserved DNA evidence linked the defendant to the case. The defendant was arrested on Third Street in the Bayview District of San Francisco and charged according to 1976 law with one count of murder while armed with a deadly weapon. He was not charged with rape because the statute of limitations on that charge had expired. Mayfield has a prior felony conviction for forcible rape in 1968.

The jury deliberated for one day and found the defendant guilty of first degree murder. The defendant is facing life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for December 13, 2013, in Dept. 21. The Honorable Charles Haines presided over the trial.

This conviction is the result of an investigation by San Francisco Police Department Inspectors Joseph Toomey and Holly Pera. Assistant District Attorney Linda Allen prosecuted the case.