Court docs: DNA of suspect found under cold case victim’s fingernails

Paul Nuttall
Paul Nuttall(LVMPD)
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 12:16 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - DNA under the fingernails of a cold case victim from 1980 was positively identified in October, leading to a suspect’s arrest, according to court documents from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

Paul Nuttal, 64, was arrested Oct. 27 in connection with the murder and rape of Sandra DiFelice on Dec. 26, 1980.

On Dec. 26, 1980, DiFelice found dead in her home and “obviously murdered,” according to LVMPD warrant documents. Police said DiFelice was beaten, strangled, stabbed and sexually assaulted.

A fingerprint was found on a drinking glass with Kool-Aid in the living room, belonging to Nuttall. Blood was also found in nearby sink, indicating the suspect washed their hands after the attack, the documents said.

DiFelice’s roommate said on the morning of the attack around 7:30 a.m., Nuttall was at the back door, asking if he could sleep there because he had nowhere to go. She declined because DiFelice was in the home and she didn’t know him well, but allowed Nuttall to come in and wait for her to get ready for work. The roommate said Nuttall would have to leave when she left, the warrant said.

In the meantime, Nuttall sat in the living room with a Kool Aid, the report said.

Later, Nuttall was seen standing in DiFelice’s doorway while she was sleeping, the roommate told police. The roommate said not to bother her, and Nuttall reportedly said “Merry Christmas” before he moved away from the door, the warrant said.

Once the roommate was done getting ready for work, she told Nuttall he’d have to leave too. Nuttall then walked the roommate to her work, the warrant said.

On Oct. 26, 2020, DiFelice’s daughter reached out to LVMPD asking for an update on the case.

Police said Nuttall was 21 years old at the time of the murder. Nuttall had dark hair at the time; dark hair was found on DiFelice’s body after her death, along with DNA under her fingernails, warrant documents said. The DNA under DiFelice’s nails was a male profile, police said.

On Dec. 9, 2021, police got a warrant for Nuttall’s DNA. Police visited Nuttall on Dec. 23, 2021 to get his DNA and he agreed to the DNA swab “without hesitation,” warrant documents said.

When police asked Nuttall about DiFelice’s murder, he said he didn’t know what they were talking about. Police showed Nuttall pictures of DiFelice and he said he didn’t recognize her, warrants said.

On Oct. 14, 2022, the DNA under DiFelice’s fingernails was found to have matched Nuttall’s profile. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nuttall was arrested at his home on Oct. 27 on open murder, sex assault and burglary charges. According to court records, Nuttall was denied bail.