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Suspect in 1987 murder arrives from Georgia

ST. PETERSBURG — It took 21 years for police to link the 1987 rape and strangulation of St. Petersburg woman Lisa Bickford to the man she was last seen alive with: Tony Fantauzzi.

Authorities caught up to the 48-year-old man in Georgia last month and arrested him in connection with Bickford's murder.

On Friday, he was returned to the area and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

Bickford, 19, was last seen alive on Feb. 27, 1987. After breaking her wrist, she was supposed to meet her sister that night. Instead, she was last seen splitting off from a group of friends with Fantauzzi, police said.

The next morning, the woman's body was found near the 200 block of Eighth Street S. She had been raped, beaten and strangled, and dragged more than 100 feet while she fought violently for her life, police said.

The cold case was reopened in 2006, and advances in forensic technology allowed St. Petersburg police to match old DNA samples to Fantauzzi.

In August, a grand jury indicted Fantauzzi on a charge of first-degree murder. He was arrested by Georgia authorities on Dec. 14. He was being held without bail Friday.

Suspect in 1987 murder arrives from Georgia 01/02/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:07am]
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