(KSDK) — The attack near San Francisco was chilling. A 90 year old woman was tied up, sexually assaulted and suffocated. Police say Richard McNew, 30, of Missouri committed the crime. McNew allegedly went to the victim's house as part of his job.
Authorities in northern California identified Richard McNew as a murder suspect after DNA collected from the scene matched a national database.
McNew's criminal record is lengthy. He was already in the St. Louis jail when detectives in California linked him to the December murder and rape of Anna Vuori, 90, in a San Francisco suburb.
Authorities in Contra Costa County say a Missouri-based business sent McNew to California. "He was actually going door to door selling magazine subscriptions. That's how he initially contacted Anna Vuori," says Jimmy Lee with the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office.
Lee says detectives don't yet know what Missouri company employed McNew, but the 30 year old did not have a legal permit to sell door to door in California. That permit requires a criminal background check.
"They have to fill out a form and pay a fee and they will get fingerprinted and those documents will go to the sheriff's office. We have a deputy that actually looks into the criminal history of those applying for the peddler's permit," says Lee.
Lee says McNew, a convicted felon, would not have received a permit. The peddler's permit is often ignored in California and is difficult to enforce. In Missouri, there are no regulations for traveling salesman, and companies are not reqired to perform any background checks on employees.
Police say Vuori's murder illustrates the importance of community watches and caution when opening the door for someone you don't know.
"This crime has really shocked the community to the core. A lot of people are asking the question, 'How could this happen?' or 'What we can do about it?' The key thing I want to stress is this could happen anywhere," says Lee.
Police in Southern California arrested McNew in November for trespassing on a woman's property while selling magazines. An extradition hearing for McNew on the murder charge will be held February 2.