Richard John Davis

Richard John Davis was identified on August 10, 2022 as the lead suspect in the October 26, 1970 murder of 28-year-old Nancy Marie Bennallack in Sacramento, California. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Davis.
An intruder had climbed into Bennallack’s second-story apartment through a sliding glass door she left ajar for her cat. She was sexually assaulted in her bedroom and stabbed numerous times, being nearly decapitated. She had numerous defensive wounds, showing that she fought back against her attacker.

A DNA profile was obtained in 2004 from blood the attacker had left during his struggle with Bennallack. The FGG investigation was commenced in November of 2019, although the forensic organization has not been disclosed. The final confirmation was made to a living relative.

Davis passed away in November of 1997 at the age of 54, from what are described as complications from alcoholism. He had one arrest for DUI. He lived in the same apartment complex as Bennallack at the time of her murder.

This is the oldest cold case homicide solved to date in Sacramento County, which has long been a leading jurisdiction in the use of FGG.


Ahumada, Rosalio. “DNA Evidence Leads to Killer in 1970 Sacramento Cold Case: ‘Nancy Was Never Forgotten’.” Sacramento Bee, August 11, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Keller, Aaron. “1970 Cold Case Murder of Court Reporter ‘Nearly Decapitated’ While Engaged to Public Defender is Finally Solved, Sheriff Says.” Law & Crime, August 11, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Padilla, Cecilio. “Genetic Genealogy Identifies Suspect in Brutal 1970 Killing of Sacramento-Area Woman.” CBC News Sacramento, August 10, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.


First Name Richard John
Last Name Davis
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2019-11-00
Case Cleared 2022-08-10
IGG Org nd


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1739 Nancy Benallack 28 1970-10-26 Sacramento, CA Sacramento CSO Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

To contribute information on new or existing IGG cases, use this form.

Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.