Dallas man pleads guilty to 1978 murder

WACO, TX. (AP) - A 53-year-old Dallas man has received a 40-year prison term after pleading guilty to murdering an 18-year-old woman in Central Texas 34 years ago.

Benny Tijerina pleaded guilty in Waco Thursday to murder in the 1978 death of Rita Salazar. Attorneys told Judge Matt Johnson Tijerina agreed to the sentence under a plea deal.

McLennan County prosecutor Michael Jarrett tells KXXV-TV (http://bit.ly/wFMC92) of Waco that Salazar and her 19-year-old date, Kevin Key, had gone to the movies and ran out of gas on their way home. He says they hitched a ride with a person, who forced Key from the car and shot him dead and sexually assaulted and murdered Salazar.

Evidence was matched to Tijerina when he was jailed in 2007 on a drunken driving charge.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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