Cold-case solved? Man on work release for killing his wife confesses to 1970s murder

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John DeRosia, 59, allegedly admitted to a cold case murder. Courtesy Washington State Department of Corrections.

LYNNWOOD — In a rare break in an old case, a convicted felon on work release while serving time for killing his wife recently walked into a sheriff’s office and confessed to a cold-case murder from 1978.

John DeRosia allegedly walked into a King County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday and asked to talk to detectives, deputies told Q13 FOX News. The 59-year-old man then confessed to detectives he was responsible for the 1978 murder of a co-worker.

DeRosia told deputies he beat his co-worker unconscious while the two were in a verbal dispute at an apartment complex near the Alpental/Skykomish area of King County in the late 70s. To hide the murder, DeRosia allegedly lit the man’s apartment on fire. He then went around and knocked on other residents’ doors, police said, warning them to leave because of the fire.

At the time, detectives believed DeRosia was responsible for the arson and murder, but could not prove a case against him. He was free from jail until 2004, when he confessed to killing his wife in a drunken quarrel.

DeRosia was only sentenced to 12 years behind bars in that case, the Seattle P.I. reported, with the judge offering him a lesser sentence because he appeared to show remorse in the crime and was unlikely to pose a danger once he was released.

DeRosia was on work release from his sentence Tuesday when he strolled into the sheriff’s office and confessed to the cold-case murder.

He is in King County Jail and being held on $100,000 bail. He is expected to be charged with murder.

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