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Friday, December 09, 2005

Regina Reynolds

You know when people ask me dumb-ass questions like, what do I want after 27-years? This is what I want: Police that stay on the case. DNA evidence that gets preserved FOR 30 YEARS! A community without a memory like a sieve. Justice.

Thanks to Richard Jones for passing this story on to me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Man guilty of Sidney grad's murder College student killed in 1975
By Mark Boshnack
Tri-Towns Bureau

Friends and relatives of a Sidney High School graduate who was raped and murdered in 1975 expressed a range of emotions Monday after a Madison man was found guilty of the crimes.
Donald Sigsbee, 68, a retired cabinetmaker from Madison, was convicted by an Onondaga County jury on Monday. Prosecutors successfully used DNA evidence from the crime scene and from a drinking straw Sigsbee used and discarded.

Steve Reynolds, the victim's brother, said he was staying at a hotel there along with his brother, mother, family and friends, who had attended the trial.

"We never want people to think that all of what happened to my sister is closed because it never can be," said Reynolds, speaking by telephone from Syracuse. The verdict is "justice served," he said.

The immediate family had moved from the area in the years following the murder. Steve Reynolds lives in Memphis.

Reynolds was a student at Morrisville State College when she disappeared while hitchhiking Nov. 6, 1975. Her body was found 13 days later near Otisco Lake, 15 miles southwest of Syracuse. Authorities said she was stabbed in the heart.

In the case against Sigsbee, the first count of murder charged him with intentionally killing Reynolds, who was 19 years old at the time. The second count charges him with causing her death during a felony rape.

Sigsbee will be sentenced April 19. He faces a minimum 15 years and a maximum 25 years to life in state prison.

The murder happened so many years ago, Steve Reynolds said, "we never thought anything would be resolved" until about a year ago, when Sigsbee was arrested.

That occurred in March 2003 after police matched the semen to the DNA in a saliva sample authorities recovered from a drinking straw Sigsbee dumped in the trash at a fast-food restaurant.

"We had to come to terms in the past year, again, with what happened," Steve Reynolds said.
He said the family wanted to thank the New York state police and District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and his office, for the successful prosecution of Sigsbee.

Sherri Kinsella, who was among those who attended at least part of the trial, said she was two years younger than Regina Reynolds, but her sister was a classmate.

"Everybody knew Reggie," Kinsella said. Following the verdict, she said Reynolds "can finally rest in peace."

Sue Hayen, who was in the victim's class at Sidney, said she also attended much of the courtroom procedure.

"We all know the family," she said.

About how she handled dealing with her friends death all these years, she said, "I think you lay it to rest after such a long period of time.

But "a lot of those feelings resurfaced during the testimony in the trial," she said. Her reaction to hearing details of Reynolds death, was "you wish you could turn back the clock and she were alive today."

Sitting in the courtroom, she said she was impressed by the number of troopers who were present.

"They never let this case drop," she said about troopers and the district attorney.
Sidney science teacher David Pysnik, who was not at the trial, said he is one of the remaining teachers on staff who had Reynolds as a student.

He described the verdict as "a great sigh of relief."

"A lot of people are thankful the justice system has worked," Pysnik said. "And now we can continue to move forward."

Jurors deliberated for eight hours Friday before adjourning for the weekend. They returned their verdict Monday morning.

Sigsbee became a principal suspect at the time of the killing after investigators found several of his business cards near the body, which had been dumped in a shallow ravine about 300 yards off a rural road.

Authorities, however, were unable to charge him because of a lack of other evidence. However, a state police investigator preserved a semen sample taken from Reynolds' body.

During the three-day trial, dueling DNA experts offered differing opinions about the probability the semen belonged to Sigsbee.

William Shields, the only witness called by the defense, told jurors he thought the state police lab-test results were inconclusive. Shields, a biology professor from the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry who has worked for the defense in the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson murder cases, said he would neither include or exclude Sigsbee as a suspect.
But Russell Gettig, testifying for the prosecution, told jurors the probability of someone other than Sigsbee being linked to the semen was less than 1 in 115 million.

Gettig, a forensic scientist with the New York state police crime lab, said he based his conclusion on a comparison of the DNA from a sample of the victim's blood, the semen sample found in her body, the saliva sample recovered from the soda straw and a court-ordered known sample from Sigsbee.

A complete DNA profile could not be developed from the semen sample because it apparently degraded over time, Gettig said. But what was developed was consistent with the defendant's DNA sample, he said.


At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Melinda said...

I was just wondering what was on the business cards? I saw this on Cold Case Files and had like a flash back from when I lived in Norwich, NY around this time and was approached by a man and given a business card and he told me that he would like to photograph me. I remember that the man had glassess and I thought to myself that this man looks like my father and not a photographer but then thought how would I know what a photographer looked like. I have been feeling very uneasy since seeing that episode and want to find some answers so I can stop thinking about this.

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Model Display Services

but I think the Model is in cabinets and fixtures, not fashion or print models.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced he did it. I was in school in upstate NY and was told one of our class mates killed Regina. it is a compelling story and one that I believe. I would like to divulge the details but our class mate is still at large and I am afraid for my safety. this has haunted me since 1975 and I am not sure what to do. I am so relieved to read this because maybe I have a recourse or can safely share the details with someone.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a classmate of Reggie at Morrisville. I attended her funeral. She was a very special person beyond what I can describe here... I have lived my life since then in the spiritual pursuit of pure love and Truth. Her death shocked me out of the amnesia and complacency of selfish existence and turned me toward an inner search for the meaning of life, love and to understand why there is such cruelty. The last post here is several years ago, so there may not be anyone reading this... After over 30 years of mourning the death of Reggie, I searched her name to see if the crime was solved and it seems it was…many emotions!
In the years of grief after her death I devoted myself more and more to prayer knowing that the only thing I can change for sure is myself and by removing the possibility of violence from myself, as best i could, through a total spiritual dedication to the Lord, I could somehow sanctify her sacrifice through my own transformation . We live in a world where the most innocent and the kindest and best intended among us are sometimes victims… such is the case here. I am very grateful for my brief friendship with Reggie and I am grateful that her very tragic death served as the impulse for me to sanctify my life… I have never stopped praying for her and her family and I feel sure that she has attained the Highest Realms… a sweeter soul I had not met until the day I met her and I offer prayers of solace to all who loved her… May she be forever Blessed in Heaven!

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in the Sharon Springs/Cobleskill area around that time. There were some seriously warped hillbillies living in the area at the time. I could easily name a dozen or so who, if I heard they were rapists/murderers it would not surprise me in the least. It's NEVER a good idea for a young, attractive, unarmed lady to hitchhike, doubly so for a rural area like that.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nearly 34 years ago, I was one of three other of Reggie's lab partners in a (I think) biochemistry class lab that fall. I remember her telling us that she was going to hitch hike somewhere that coming weekend. She was kind of a free-spirited slightly hippie-type girl, the sweetest, kindest soul you could ever meet, very special person indeed. I remember telling her, firmly warning her of the dangers, and even pleading with her to not hitch hike, that it was not safe for her. I so much to this day wish she had listened to me and heeded my warning. We weren't really friends that hung out together, but just lab partners and friends in that capacity to each other. She was, I remember, such a kind, gentle, and very intelligent person, and she most likely suffered a horribly fearful ordeal before being taken from this world by that evil bastard. I just wish she had not gone on that hitch hiking trip. I hope she knows how much we all cared for her. I was relieved that her abductor had been captured when I read this in the paper a few years ago, but I still feel the empty space left by him taking Reggie from us that fall. I don't for one minute think some classmate did this to her. I hope she is in Heaven with Jesus at her side. I miss you Reggie.
To the person who wrote you were approached by a person with glasses, I was also, in Rutland Vermont, in 1977, while on a bycycle. It turns out that it was Lewis Lent, the professed killer of Sara Anne Wood so many years later. I know this from his mug photo, and will never forget how it happened, or how I thwarted his advance (he told us he ran out of gas while driving up toward Killington). Very scary, thick bottle-bottom glasses with copper leacheate running down hi cheeks from the rims of the glasses. Could this fitht eh description of the person who approached you to photograph you?


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