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Georgia man pleads not guilty in 1988 Santa Maria Motel murder of woman

Georgia man pleads not guilty in 1988 Santa Maria Motel murder of woman
Georgia man pleads not guilty in 1988 Santa Maria Motel murder of woman

Aloysius Winthrop James, 57, charged with unsolved murder of Ofelia Sandoval

Caption: Alyosius Winthrop James | Photo credit: Courtesy

Aloysius Winthrop James, a 57-year-old Georgia man, pleaded not guilty in connection with the unsolved murder of Ofelia Sandoval at the Town Center Motel in Santa Maria 36 years ago. In a statement last Monday, Santa Barbara District Attorney John Savrnoch announced that James – who was arrested at his Georgia home in April – had been charged with the 1988 murder of the 30-year-old woman.

The cold case remained open and active since Sandoval’s murder three decades ago, which led to the Santa Maria Detective Bureau serving an arrest warrant at James’ residence in Gainesville, Georgia. The Detective Bureau received assistance from the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office, the Gainesville Police Department, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, and the FBI Gainesville Task Force. James was subsequently extradited to Santa Barbara County, where he remains in custody without bail.

James, who was living in Santa Maria at the time, is charged with first-degree murder. He was also charged by District Attorney Savrnoch with murder during rape. James pleaded not guilty, contesting the special circumstances. His next court date is scheduled for July 30.

“Investigators believe there may be additional unreported crimes and additional victims related to James involving threats, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes,” Santa Maria police said in a press release.

Anyone with additional information about the 1988 murder or other possible crimes involving James is asked to contact Santa Maria Police Detective Nate Craven at (805) 928-3781, x1610, or [email protected].

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