Man sentenced to life in prison for Lena Bruce’s 1992 slaying

Eva Mitchell carries a photo of Lena Bruce as she arrives for the sentencing of James Witkowski. Mitchell was Bruce’s sorority sister. —Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston man has been ordered to life in prison for the 1992 killing of a woman who was raped and suffocated in her apartment.

Forty-five-year-old James Witkowski was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in Lena Bruce’s slaying.

The offense carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole in Massachusetts.

Prosecutors say Witkowski was homeless when he killed 21-year-old Bruce in her home in the city’s South End. Her death was unsolved until DNA under her fingernails was matched to Witkowski in 2015.

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Friends and family mourned the loss of the bright Tufts University graduate in court Thursday.

Witkowski’s lawyer had argued no evidence puts Witkowski in the apartment at the time of the killing.

James Witkowski arrives for his sentencing. —Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe