Dorchester man to get life for 1992 South End murder

A Suffolk Superior Court jury today convicted James Witkowski of first-degree murder for the rape and suffocation of Lena Bruce in her South End apartment on July 12, 1992, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

The conviction means a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

Witkowski, 45, had evaded arrest until 2014, when he violated the terms of an assault-and-battery conviction, and was required to supply a DNA sample, which matched evidence found at the murder scene.

Prosecutors say Witkowski did not know Bruce when he attacked her. Bruce, 21, a Philadelphia native, had graduated with honors with a degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University just two months before her death.

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Let's remember Lena Bruce

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Let's remember Lena Bruce.
https://cdn-news.wgbh.org/s3fs-public/styles/post_16x9/public/lena2.jpg

Lena grew up in Philadelphia. She graduated with honors from the Tufts School of Engineering.When she was a student she was active in Capen House and Delta Sigma Theta. She was working in her field at Stone and Webster. She was a community activist. In Boston, she mentored at-risk youth.

There is an internship fund that honors her called the Bruce-Griffey Leadership and Diversity Internship Fund, which is supported by the Bruce-Griffey Leadership and Diversity Internship Committee. It supports current Tufts students who are leaders on campus and have demonstrated a commitment to public service. There is a Lena D. Bruce/Anita Y. Griffey Scholarship awarded to a female high school senior in the Cambridge Area, in order to give her the opportunity to have a deserving collegiate experience. There is a bench outside of Africana Center at Tufts that honors her.

Let us remember Lena.

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