A judge delayed sentencing Monday until September 20 for Dennis Lepage, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for strangling a gay man 45 years ago, because Lepage was in medical isolation in jail.
San Diego Superior Court Judge, Laura Halgren, found good cause to delay the sentencing of Lepage, now 64, because he could not be brought from jail, apparently due to someone in his unit testing positive for COVID-19.
No one from his jail module could appear in court as well as a precaution, said his attorney.
Lepage admitted to killing Alvaro Marquez Espeleta, 28, who was beaten and strangled in his apartment in the 3200 block of Reynard Way on Dec. 31, 1975.
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said Lepage will receive a sentence of five years to life in prison because that was the penalty in 1975.
Fox said Monday the Department of Corrections will convert the term to six years and make a determination as to whether he should serve any more time based on the circumstances of the case and his record.
On July 30, family members of Espeleta spoke out to Lepage about their loss. “I don’t know what happened between you and my brother, but you didn’t have to take his life,” said Alicia Espeleta Almeyda, the victim’s sister.
Espeleta worked as a Navy dental technician. He was found naked in his bed after being struck with a glass ashtray that split into six pieces which also cut Lepage, causing him to bleed on a bathroom towel.
The killer’s blood was saved along with his cigarette butts left in the apartment that left his DNA. A match was found to Lepage’s DNA in 2019 and he was arrested in New York for murder.