St. Albans senior busted in cold case double slaying dating back to 1973

Courtesy of Virginia Beach Police Department

An 80-year-old St. Albans man was arrested Monday for a grisly double homicide that occurred nearly a half century ago.

The NYPD assisted detectives from the Virginia Beach Police Department in locating, apprehending and collecting forensic evidence from Ernest Jean Broadnax, who is awaiting extradition to Virginia where he will be charged on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of rape, according to the VBPD.

Victims Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler, both 19 years of age at the time, went to Virginia Beach from the Pittsburgh area for summer vacation. On June 30, 1973, the women were found dead inside their beachfront cottage and the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled both deaths to be homicide.

Investigators found Seethaler shot twice with her throat slashed and they determined Pietropola was raped, strangled and shot three times, authorities said.

The case turned cold after “exhaustive measures failed to positively identify a suspect, but in 2018, VBPD Cold Case Investigators began aggressively researching a strong lead they had received in the case and subsequently identified Broadnax as the perpetrator.

Police say Broadnax had been arrested at least 10 times in New York City on charges including burglary, assault and weapons possession dating back to 1990. He served at least 10 years in state prison, according to authorities.

A statement from the Virginia Beach Police Department said its cold case team followed leads and used “advanced forensic technology,” as part of the investigation and thanked detectives of the 105th Precinct in Queens Village and the Queens District Attorney’s office, among others, for their assistance with the investigation which “helped facilitate an outcome that will hopefully provide peace for the victims’ families,” the statement concluded.

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