Suspect in cold-case murder found guilty, avoids death penalty

Suspect in cold-case murder found guilty, avoids death penalty

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A man identified as a suspect in the rape and slaying of a woman in 1990 was found guilty Tuesday.

Timothy Sellers, 60, was found guilty of aggravated murder after a bench trial in front of Judge Marsh.

Judge Marsh did not find him guilty of the two specifications and sentenced Sellers to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 20 years.

[Related: Man indicted on 21-year-old cold case; faces death penalty]

Sellers is accused of raping and murdering Lillian Curtis on March 22, 1990 in Over-the-Rhine at 1213 Republic Street. Her badly beaten body was found on the 5th floor of the building and the coroner ruled her death a homicide as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. She also suffered serious lacerations to other parts of her body.

Sellers was also charged and in 1990 with rape and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Pauline Dunkman.

In 2002 the Cincinnati Police Department received information that there was a CODIS (Combined DNA Indexing System) hit on the Curtis case with DNA from Sellers. Information regarding DNA and CODIS hits was in its infancy in 2002 and, unfortunately, the police department failed to act on this information at that time.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office received the case in late 2010 and began an investigation which resulted in the indictment.

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