Man says he strangled 81-year-old NW resident; likely to receive life sentence

A man accused of strangling an 81-year-old Northwest resident has pleaded guilty to the killing.

John Vincent Nitzke, 49, a homeless man, admitted last week to the 2008 killing of Dorothy "Betty" Carras.

Carras was found dead on May 22, 2008 in her home, near the intersection of North La Cañada Drive and West Magee Road.

Nitzke pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death sentence. Instead, he likely will serve out the remainder of his life behind bars.

Formal sentencing is scheduled for late-February in Pima County Superior Court in the courtroom of Judge Clark Munger.

DNA evidence collected from Carras' home on the 1600 block of West Chimayo Place led Pima County Sheriff's detectives to Nitzke, who had prior arrests on his record.

In July 2008, he was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., and later extradited to Arizona.

Friends of Carras at the time of her death described her as energetic and involved in numerous activates. Among those, Carras volunteered at nearby Tohono Chul Park.

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