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Franklin County Man Arrested For 20-Year-Old California Homicide

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Michael Debreceny
FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.C. — A Franklin County man has been arrested in connection with the death of his wife more than 20 years ago, when the couple lived in Sacramento, Calif.

Michael Debreceny was arrested at his home Wednesday after California authorities determined his wife, Lisa Debreceny, died from a physical assault. The 19-year-old was found dead in the couple's home on Nov. 10, 1985, but investigators at the time did not have enough evidence to make a case against Debreceny, now 47.

Lisa Debreceny had just finished a drug rehabilitation program she had attended while her husband was in jail, said her brother, David Randolph. She was found dead just days after Michael Debreceny was released.

Sacramento police reopened the case in 2004 and investigators re-interviewed friends and family members, which turned up fresh information linking Debreceny to his wife's death, police detective Toni Sall said. Sall would not say what that new information was.

Debreceny could be back in Sacramento this week after an extradition hearing in North Carolina, authorities said.

Randolph said his family was grateful that authorities kept trying to solve his sister's case.

"It (the arrest) won't bring her back, and we're not the kind of family that is all for retribution and hanging him from the highest gallows, but we want him to pay his debt and acknowledge that he did this," Randolph said.

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