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Posted on: October 17, 2017

Raymond Hanley Sentenced to Life in Prison, DNA Helps Detectives Solve 24-Year-Old Cold Case Murder

PHOENIX— Today Raymond Hanley (D.O.B. 1/27/1953) received a Life Sentence plus 10.5 years, for 1st Degree Murder and Arson in connection to the death of 40-year-old Debra Kay Shipton who was found brutally bound and killed inside her Mesa apartment in 1993.

Nothing can change the suffering the victim and her family had to endure from the events of that day, but today’s sentencing demonstrates the resolve of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has in holding defendants accountable and seeking justice no matter the passage of time.

On October 13, 1993 Mesa Firefighters were called to an apartment fire and discovered the body of Debra Shipton in her master bedroom. Her body was bound, partially undressed and had several gunshots wounds. The fire had started on the balcony of the apartment and showed obvious signs of arson. In addition, there had been an attempt to set fires in both the living room and master bedroom use cans of flammable liquid, matchbooks and cigarettes as a fuse.  The cigarettes had burned down to the butts but had not ignited the liquid.

Investigators did not have a suspect in the case and it went cold until 2009 when DNA from the cigarette butts was a identified as a match to Raymond Hanley, who was serving a sentence for a 1994 sexual assault. The defendant was initially interviewed in 2009 and denied any involvement in the murder or arson, but admitted to knowing the victim. In 2013, the defendant was again interviewed by Mesa detectives and admitted to covering up the crime by taking the murder weapon and setting the fire, but still denied killing the victim.

On September 7, 2017 Hanley was found guilty by a jury of 1st Degree Murder, Burglary, Kidnapping and Arson.

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