Dallas man pleads guilty to 1978 murder

WACO, Texas (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 (tee-hur-REE'-nah) 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.

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Information from: KXXV-TV, http://www.kxxv.com