Man charged in 1979 slaying assigned courtroom for trial

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man charged in the 1979 slaying of a woman at a southwest Bakersfield apartment has been assigned a courtroom and his murder trial is expected to begin soon. 

The trial of 61-year-old Prentice Foreman will be held in Department 7 of Kern County Superior Court before Judge Brian M. McNamara. Motions and jury selection will likely take several days, then opening statements will be heard.

Foreman is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Dawn Koons in January 1979. 

Koons was found naked in a bathtub with her hands bound and a pillowcase over her head. She died from asphyxiation, and a pathologist testified in an earlier hearing she could have been smothered or strangled.

Foreman was arrested in December 2017 after the Bakersfield police cold case unit got a hit on a retested semen sample from the crime scene that matched his DNA. He lived in the same apartment complex as Koons at the time of the killing.

According to court documents, Foreman told police he only knew Koons casually and had never been in her apartment. When the DNA evidence linked him to her killing, he told investigators he had consensual sex with Koons months before her death. 

Prosecutor Gina Pearl said during Foreman’s preliminary hearing last year the DNA evidence taken from the crime scene shows it’s impossible the sexual activity happened as far back as Foreman said it did.

Pearl also said Koons complained to others about Foreman and his unwanted attention, and that he harassed her at the apartment mailboxes. 

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