Yuba County Cold Case Suspect Pleads Not Guilty at First Court Appearance

MARYSVILLE -- It's been 43 long years for two families after witnessing one of the men accused of killing their loved ones in the '70s face a judge for the first time.

"Forty three years ago we went through this, and we found ways to put it to rest and deal with it. Today all of those emotions are open and everything is just aggressively taken over, we go through emotion after emotion," said Stan Van Tassel.

Van Tassel's aunt Doris Derryberry and her best friend Valerie Lane were murdered in November 1973.

They were just 12 and 13 at the time.

"These people have walked around for the past 43 years, and they've lived their life where my aunt never had a chance at hers," Van Tassel said.

Tuesday the Yuba County sheriff announced the arrest of suspects William Harbour and Larry Patterson.

Both are now 65 years old.

They were 22 at the time of the murders.

The family's emotions are even more complicated now, knowing that for all these years, Harbour lived in Olivehurst near both victims' families.

"It's extremely difficult just knowing that as children running around growing up in the neighborhood that we were running around with some of their children, and it's just a slap in our face," said Van Tassel.

The Yuba County Sheriff's Department reopened the case in 2014.

Modern DNA technology used on original crime scene evidence allowed them to identify the suspects.

Investigators hope the break in the case provides closure.

"Our sympathies are with the families and we're just glad to start the healing process for them even if it's 43 years later," said Leslie Carbah with the Yuba County Sheriff's Department.

Harbour is facing two counts of first-degree murder with additional charges for rape and child molestation.

He will be back in court Oct. 19.

Patterson faces an extradition hearing in Oklahoma.