Utah State Prison
Gary Dean Hilfiker, 56, pleaded guilty Friday to murdering a 71-year-old woman in her home in 1989. He was a taxi cab driver at the time and had driven her to her home on several occasions.

SALT LAKE CITY — A man admitted Friday that he stabbed and killed a 71-year-old woman in 1989 less than one month after he was finally charged with her murder.

Gary Dean Hilfiker, 56, was charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, on May 2. Friday, he pleaded guilty to the charge.

It took 24 years for the man to be prosecuted in the death of Flora Rundle, who was found dead in her South Salt Lake home, 3518 S. 300 West, on Oct. 22, 1989, by family members who hadn't heard from her for a few days. According to charging documents, the door to Rundle's home had been pried open and she had been stabbed several times in the back and chest.

Hilfiker — a cab driver who had taken Rundle to her home on several occasions because taxis were her main form of transportation — was a suspect after the death, but police said they lacked sufficient evidence to arrest him. Earlier this year, DNA evidence from the crime scene was processed through a database and it pointed to Hilfiker, who was already in the Utah State Prison serving time for an unrelated 1992 murder.

Prosecutors said Hilfiker broke into Rundle's home, stabbed the woman to death during a struggle and took several hundred dollars from her purse. Prosecutors said Hilfiker admitted going to Rundle's home with a knife and with the intention to steal money from her.

Hilfiker was previously sentenced to five years to life in prison for stabbing and killing his girlfriend, 38-year-old Marsha Haverty. She was stabbed 11 times before Hilfiker set her body and the house on fire.

During a 2010 parole hearing, Hilfiker said he had been on a three-day alcohol and crack cocaine binge on April 24, 1992, before that murder. He said he became a born-again Christian in 2001.

A parole board member that year said he would recommend Hilfiker spend at least 25 years in prison.

Hilfiker will be sentenced for Rundle's death on June 13.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam