SANTA ANA, Calif. – DNA evidence of the 1979 rape and murder of Joan Anderson, a wife and mother, has been confirmed to be that of convicted murderer William Evins, who pleaded guilty to the murder in 1985. Evins was sentenced on Sept. 25, 1985, to 15 years to life in state prison after he pleaded guilty Aug. 3, 1985, to one felony count of second degree murder and a sentencing enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon. Evins died in prison in 2013.
During a July 2018 press conference, the attorney for Evins’ family claimed he was wrongfully convicted. The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) agreed in June 2018 the Camille Hill Innocence Review Panel (CHIRP) would review the Evins conviction. CHIRP was established in 2001 in partnership with the Orange County Public Defender’s Office and reviews any and all claims of innocence on Orange County cases in which forensic evidence could potentially exonerate the defendant. Since 2001, the Panel has reviewed more than 400 cases. Forensic evidence from Mrs. Anderson’s murder was located by the Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD) and analyzed by the Orange County Crime Lab. A DNA profile obtained from the evidence was uploaded to the state DNA database. On Dec. 4, 2018, law enforcement was notified by the California Department of Justice that the profile matched that of William Evins, the convicted offender.
Rape and Murder of Joan Anderson
Evins, then 25 years old, was known to his victim as he had been doing work on the Anderson residence. On March 8, 1979, Evins, gained access to the home, raped and killed Mrs. Anderson by hitting her in the head with a hammer and then fled the scene. Her body was discov! ered by a neighbor who contacted FVPD and officers arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.
In May 1979, friends of Evins contacted FVPD and told the investigators that since March 8, 1979, Evins had been acting strange and was jumpy and hyper-sensitive. In addition to additional evidence, prior to the murder, Evins had repeatedly expressed his desires to his friends to rape and kill women with hostility. Evins also asked one of his friends to lie and supply him with an alibi for March 8, 1979.