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Glendale Police Department Solves 1979 Cold Case Murder

. 1 min read

The Glendale Police Department used forensic evidence collected from a 1979 case to convict the suspect for the rape and murder of a Glendale woman.

During the early morning hours of September 21, 1979 the Glendale Police Department found the naked body of the 23 year old victim, Barbara Ballman inside of her Volkswagen sedan in the 400 block of Edison Place. Her car was found parked across from Edison elementary school. Ballman had been raped and killed by an apparent shotgun wound to her abdomen. Investigators had no leads to work off of other than the semen evidence recovered from the victim. At the time however, DNA analysis was not available.

The case became a cold case file and it was re-opened by a Glendale Police homicide detective in 2009. The semen evidence from 1979, was submitted to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s crime lab and a positive hit was made to a suspect; 56 year old Darrell Gurule.

Gurule was only 19 years old at the time of this heinous crime but detectives learned that he had a troubled youth. He had arrest records with Glendale Police Department ranging back to 1973 when he was in his early teens for larceny and assault. Detectives also learned Gurule was tried and convicted for a 1977 rape case where the Los Angeles police found him raping a woman in the City of Los Angeles while he was armed with a shotgun. He served a short sentence in prison as a juvenile and was released prior to the 1979 murder case of Barbara Ballman.

Detectives discovered Gurule was back in prison and serving a life sentence since 1987 for the kidnap and murder of a man in a case where detectives believe was a drug deal gone wrong.

On September 21, 2016, a Los Angeles jury brought justice for Barbara Ballman on the day of her 37 year anniversary of her death.  Gurule was found guilty for her murder. He was convicted with special allegations of rape, prior rape conviction and the use of a weapon. Gurule is awaiting a new sentence and is now eligible for the death penalty.