BC man sentenced for 1990 murder of California widow

BC man guilty in cold case

A Shawnigan Lake, B.C. man convicted in the murder of a California widow 30 years ago has been sentenced to 25 years to life, according to the Riverside County District Attorney.

Anthony Michael Kubica, 63, was convicted last November of the 1990 murder of 78-year-old Marie Darling of Palm Springs, whose decomposing body was discovered in California’s Coachella Valley 24 days after she was last seen alive by a neighbour.

The case went cold for years but reopened in 2014, when authorities in California filed the murder charge, accusing Kubica of committing the premeditated murder of Darling on June 5, 1990.

Three years after the charge was filed, the U.S. government asked Canadian authorities to extradite Kubica to the U.S. to stand trial, and in 2018 he was surrendered to California ­officials.

At the time of Darling’s ­murder, Kubica was living with his wife, Connie Jo Kubica, in Palm Springs, California.

California Superior Court documents made public in 2018 said Kubica killed Darling for financial gain. Investigators believe that Kubica’s wife, who died in 2010, was Darling’s financial adviser and had knowledge of her wealth.

Kubica’s Palm Springs home was facing foreclosure before Darling’s death. Bank records showed that cash deposits made after she was killed allowed Kubica to cover his mortgage payments.

A year after Darling’s death, a lawyer for the Darling family discovered that $184,135 US had been transferred from Darling’s Swiss bank account to the eastern Caribbean British territory of Anguilla. The National Bank of Anguilla account that received the money was opened on May 24, 1990, by Kubica, according to California court documents.

Financial records show Kubica went to the Anguilla bank and withdrew $170,000 in two transactions. He asked the bank to transfer the remaining $130,000 to a Royal Bank of Canada account in his name.

Three years after the killing, Riverside sheriff’s investigators searched the Kubica home in Scottsdale, Arizona. They seized receipts, including one for the purchase of duct tape in Palm Springs on June 1, 1990. They found documents for travel to Anguilla and banking documents in Kubica’s name relating to the Anguilla account.

Documents revealed Darling’s feet were bound with duct tape. An autopsy found she died of blunt-force trauma to the head.

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