DENVER (CBS4)– A man convicted in a brutal 1997 attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of a teenage girl has been sentenced to the maximum possible sentence.

Ray Ojeda was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault earlier this year. He was sentenced to 144 years in prison, 48 years on each count run consecutively.

On June 14, 1997, a 15-year-old girl was walking home near Federal Boulevard and Holden Place when Ojeda, 44, kidnapped her at gunpoint and took her to a secluded area near the South Platte River at 64th Avenue and York Street.

Ojeda sexually assaulted her then shot her in the head and threw her in the river. She was able to walk a half mile to Interstate 270 and flag down a passerby for help.

The case remained unsolved until 2011 when Ojeda was convicted of a felony marijuana charge in Texas. His DNA was submitted to the CODIS database and his DNA came back a match to the DNA taken from the victim in the original sex assault examination.

The match not only led to the arrest and conviction of Ojeda but also exonerated two men who had been identified earlier as possible suspects in the case.

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