SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A parolee and cocaine addict was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for beating and strangling an 87-year-old neighbor during a robbery in the victim's Golden Hill home.
Jeff Boswell, 45, faces life in prison without parole in the July 2013 death of Blanche Griffin.
"It was a brutal murder. She was viciously beaten and strangled to death," Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde said after the verdict. "It was a very prolonged death."
Besides murder and special circumstance allegations of murder during a burglary and murder during a robbery, Boswell was convicted of two separate burglaries at a liquor store and a market.
A sentencing date will be set Tuesday after a trial on the defendant's prior convictions.
Boswell has a lengthy criminal history, including a burglary conviction from 1995, according to the prosecution.
In her opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde said Boswell had moved into his girlfriend's duplex behind Griffin's home on F Street near 29th Street.
A landscaper saw the victim outside her home looking `nervous and afraid" the morning of July 9, 2013, the prosecutor said.
Boswell's girlfriend told police that she noticed he was not in bed after midnight and returned about 7 a.m. looking "disheveled."
When Griffin's daughter couldn't reach her mother, her husband went to check on his mother-in-law about 2:45 p.m. and saw her body through a window.
A deputy medical examiner determined Griffin had suffered blunt force trauma to her head, neck and chest, and was strangled, according to Yturralde.
The victim's wedding ring and other jewelry she always wore were missing and her computer was gone, the prosecutor said.
The next morning, when police went to interview Boswell, he was hiding in the bathroom of his girlfriend's duplex, Yturralde told the jury.
Boswell was arrested but subsequently released from custody, during which time he burglarized a liquor store and a market within an eight-day period in July 2013 because he needed money to support his drug habit, the prosecutor said.
Yturralde said Boswell's DNA was found under Griffin's fingernails and on her neck. He was then re-arrested on a murder charge.
Boswell testified that he helped the victim get around and had no reason to kill her. He said Griffin would occasionally give him money, so he had no motive to rob her.
"I liked her a lot," Boswell told the jury.