A man arrested last year in connection with the 1986 rape and murder of a 17-year-old hitchhiker made his first court appearance Thursday on a Grand Jury indictment.
John William Kelley did not enter a plea to the charge of murder, with the special circumstance allegations of murder while committing or trying to commit rape and murder while committing or trying to commit sodomy.
He faces a possible death penalty if convicted on the charge and at least one of the allegations.
However, he could also be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; it depends on whether the District Attorney's office asks for the death penalty.
Should the D.A. ask for the death penalty, a jury would have to decide separately whether the defendant is guilty, then whether he should die.
It was unclear why he did not enter a plea, though Santa Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told Patch the defendant was arraigned.
The Grand Jury indictment was handed down earlier this week.
Kelley was a married 23-year-old living in Ben Lomond at the time of the Dec. 8, 1986 sexual assault and murder, according to court documents.
He turned 50 years old just four days ago.
He allegedly raped and sodomized the girl, then strangled or smothered her, dumping the teen's body in a ravine on Skyline Boulevard, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's office.
Annette Thru's remains were discovered a few hours after her remains were dumped, the D.A. stated.
At the time of the crime, investigators could not solve the case, prosecution papers state; In 2012, however, the San Mateo County sheriff's office reopened the case and got a DNA match between the victim's fluids and the defendant.
Kelley was arrested in Placerville.
Though the District Attorney's office filed charges, they will be set for dismissal Monday in order to allow the Grand Jury indictment to go through, according to the D.A.'s office.
Kelley, a registered sex offender, was convicted of rape in 1995 for a separate sexual assault in Northern California, Wagstaffe said.
He served state prison time and was released. He is being held in San Mateo County Jail without bail and will return to court in Redwood City on March 22 to enter a plea.
-- Bay City News contributed to this report