Southland Man Linked to Several Cold Case Murders in Los Angeles, Pomona, and Riverside County Spanning 20 years NR12371ne

August 3, 2012

Los Angeles: Detectives from the Cold Case Homicide Special Section of Robbery-Homicide Division announced the linking of Larry D. Hubbard in one, or possibly two unsolved Los Angeles murders in 1980 and two unsolved murders in 2000 one in the city of Pomona and one in Riverside County.

LAPD detectives have been investigating the 1980 cases involving 25 year-old Sonia Smith, murdered on August 19, 1980, and a possible linked case of another 25 year-old female murdered on November 4, 1980.  The women were found in abandoned fields with their wrists and ankles tied.  The Los Angeles County Coroner ascribed their deaths to ligature strangulation.  In the case of Sonia Smith, a partial DNA profile was developed from a sexual assault kit, however, insufficient to enter into the CoDIS database.

On August 11, 2000, Pomona Police Department investigated the murder of a female named Vanessa Williams found strangled to death in a vacant field.  On October 14, 2000, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigated the murder of a female named Christine Fields found strangled to death in a field.  The women were from the city of Pomona and had similar backgrounds.  Detectives from both agencies worked the clues. On July 7, 2007, LAPD received notification linking the Smith murder with the Pomona and Riverside County cases based on DNA evidence.

While reviewing the Smith case, detectives discovered information in the murder of a female named Phyllis McClinton.  The murder case bore similarities to the Smith case in both the victim’s background and the manner she was found.  A person of interest was developed in the McClinton murder based on a November 1980 case where a female victim was assaulted and bound in a similar manner as in the Smith and McClinton case.  The victim survived the attack and identified a person named Larry Hubbard as the attacker.  Hubbard, who at the time was a resident of Los Angeles, was eventually arrested and charged with False Imprisonment.

Approximately 27 years later, on May 22, 2007, Larry Hubbard, who was also known by the name Larry Barnes, was arrested by the Ontario Police Department for an outstanding Florida escape warrant, stemming from a 1974 robbery conviction. Hubbard had escaped the Florida prison in 1977 and moved to California.  Hubbard was a resident of Pomona, however was located and arrested at his job in the city of San Bernardino without incident.  On June 21, 2007 Hubbard was extradited to Florida and on June 23, 2007, Hubbard attempted suicide.  He died of complications on January 13, 2008.

In September 2011 detectives requested and used a biological sample from Hubbard, which was compared to evidence from the Smith case.  On June 22, 2012 detectives were notified that Hubbard’s DNA profile matched the DNA in the Smith case.

Hubbard may be responsible for more murders over the 3 decades that have gone undetected and detectives are asking anyone with further information to please contact Detectives Luis Rivera and Elizabeth Estupinian, Robbery-Homicide Division, Cold Case Special Section at (213) 486-6810.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-(877-527-3249). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1–222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.