For release on June 21, 2012   CONTACT: Matt Braker,  Deputy District Attorney
Homicide Unit
(408) 792-2531                                                     COLD CASE KILLER CONVICTED   Gary Swierski was convicted of first-degree murder this week, more than seven years after he strangled his wife and buried her in the Santa Cruz Mountains.   The 51-year-old Sunnyvale wallpaper hanger Wednesday was found guilty of the charge after a jury trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court. He faces 25-years-to-life in prison when sentenced on August 27, 2012.   Deputy District Attorney Matt Braker, who prosecuted the case said:  “Justice was served yesterday and the community is safer for two reasons, (1) the courage of Eva Swierski to come forward and tell the truth to law enforcement about the murder of her step-mother; and (2) the professionalism and tenacity of Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety."   The homicide case of Reina Swierski, 36, cracked wide open within weeks of the creation of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit. District Attorney Jeff Rosen formed the unit, which uses DNA evidence to investigate unsolved murders, rapes and violent assaults.   Reina was reported missing in 2005. Three years later, hikers in Castle Rock State Park discovered a skull. The identity of the person was unknown until the summer of 2010, when a DNA profile and dental records showed that the skull matched that of the missing Sunnyvale woman.   In February 2011, the defendant's daughter from Swierski's first wife could no longer live with the guilt of having helped her father dispose of Reina's body. She walked into the Auburn Police Department and detailed the events of March 8, 2005 when shortly before midnight her father ordered her to help him  remove the body from the home and bury it.   Swierski was arrested in February last year. He testified that he had killed his wife in self-defense when she attacked him with a knife.   During the trial, the jury of six men and six women also heard that the victim had been abused so badly she was smuggled by friends from her house, hidden under a blanket on the back seat of a car.   At the end of the seven-year case and a two-and-a-half week trial, the jury took a day to convict.   ###

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