Gang member convicted in 1994 cold case murder

VAN NUYS, Calif.

Following a nine-day trial, it took jurors two days to convict Kevin Bernard Smith Jr., 36, of the first-degree murder of Rupert "Rudy" Thompson, 73, and the attempted murder of Thompson's then 69-year-old wife.

Smith faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder, plus one life term for the attempted murder.

On Jan. 26, 1994, Smith broke into the Thompson's North Hollywood home at 1 a.m. During the burglary, Smith entered the victims' bedroom and shot both Thompson and his wife in the chest with a .380 caliber handgun. He also struck Thompson over a dozen times in the head with the gun.

Smith, a Rolling 20s gang member whose moniker is "Jazzy," ransacked the home and fled with a typewriter and jewelry.

Rudy Thompson died on the front lawn of his home after crawling out of the house to get help for his wife. She survived the attack and is now 87 years old.

The case remained unsolved until 2010 when DNA recovered from two blood stains left at the crime scene was matched to Smith through the state DNA database. At that time, Smith was serving a prison sentence in Mississippi on an unrelated drug sales charge.

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