Rape and murder trial continues in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Rape and murder trial continues in Yakima

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YAKIMA, Wash.- The trial of a man accused of murdering and raping a young woman 17 years ago continues Tuesday.

Clayton Stafford sat in court listening as officers described where they found the body of Shawna Yandell 16 years ago. Police had few leads then so the case went cold, until they found traces of sperm on the victim's body.

Clayton Stafford was arrested last year...after officers say DNA evidence linked him to the 1993 murder and rape. Officers believe she was beaten to death.  

"Had linear marks up and down her back and on the back of the leg," said Lt. Nolan Wentz who responded to the scene.

Boy Scouts found Yandell dead in the Yakima River, wearing her underwear. Detectives responded and Lt. Wentz believes the victim was beat before she was thrown in the river.

"I doubt very seriously the water or river will do that type of injury," said Lt. Wentz.

Prosecutors showed pictures of the area and re-described the scene. Defense argued the Yakima River is used by many people. They believe by the time detectives responded, some evidence could have been lost.

Stafford is facing a $1 million bail and his trial is expected to continue through next week. 

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