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Man, 70, Gets 5 Years to Life for National City Woman’s 1974 Stabbing Death

SAN DIEGO—A 70-year-old man who pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing a National City convenience store clerk almost 50 years ago was sentenced June 7 to five years to life in state prison.

Carlin Edward Cornett pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder in the July 31, 1974, killing of 22-year-old Christy Ellen Bryant.

Currently, defendants convicted of second-degree murder face 15 years to life in prison, but Cornett received the sentence of a second-degree murder conviction carried in 1974 under California law.

Bryant was stabbed to death while working alone at a 7-Eleven at 702 Highland Ave., according to National City police.

The case went cold, but police said blood samples belonging to the suspect were collected at the scene. Decades later, technological advancements in DNA testing and genetic genealogy led to Cornett’s identification as the suspect.

A motive for the killing was not disclosed. Cornett was arrested in 2021 at his home in Las Vegas.

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