Murder case moves forward in California against man suspected in 1976 Reno murder

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SAN MATEO, Calif. (KOLO)-- A suspect in a 1976 murder of a Reno coed was found incompetent to represent himself in a California murder case Thursday in San Mateo County.

Rodney Lynn Halbower, 67, will return to court July 7 to enter a plea and to set a preliminary hearing date. Halbower was linked in 2014 to two unsolved murders of teenage girls in San Mateo County’s Gypsy Hill area. He was also tied by DNA to the 1976 murder of University of Nevada, Reno student Michelle Mitchell in Reno.

Reno bar manager Cathy Woods was originally convicted of Mitchell’s murder and served 30 years in prison, but DNA on a cigarette butt next to Mitchell’s body exonerated her and implicated Halbower.

On Thursday, Halbower failed to acknowledge either of the two men appointed by the court to be his attorney in the two California murder cases.