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Crime

Oxnard man sentenced to life in prison for 1980 murder

Lenard Chester
Ventura County District Attorney
Lenard Chester

VENTURA, Calif. - Lenard Chester, 59, of Oxnard will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1980 rape and murder of Leah Bullis, 81, of Oxnard.

On June 22, 2020 a jury found Chester guilty of first degree murder with special circumstances that the murder was committed while in the commission of rape and burglary. 

Judge Ryan Wright imposed the life sentence on Thursday, August 13, 2020 ending the mystery about this murder that went unsolved for decades.

Chester severely beat and raped Ms. Bullis sometime between the evening of November 30 and the morning of December 1, 1980. Neighbors discovered Bullis alive in her bedroom but she died later at the hospital.

In 2018, Oxnard police used forensic DNA analysis to identify Chester as the killer.

Chester has a criminal record that includes rapes of other women in the Oxnard area about the same time as Bullis' rape and murder.

Ventura County
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C.J. Ward

C.J. Ward is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and the station’s lead investigative reporter. To learn more about C.J., click here

Cassie Amundson

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