Johnny Jones, who was charged in 2015 for the rape and murder of Kenya Edwards, had eluded authorities until 2009, when police decided to go over the cold case and submit evidence for DNA testing.
Neighbors recalled the anguish of decades without closure in the case.
“It was really scary because, you know, living right across the street from that,” said Alma Trawick, a former neighbor of Edwards, told the local NBC News affiliate.
“It was chaotic. It took the coroner a long time to get the body out of the house.”
One unnamed neighbor explained to the outlet: "She got along with people around here, her kids and all that. He killed that lady. He killed that lady and she had those kids and they didn’t have a mother."
Jones' sentence breaks down to 65 years for Edwards’ death, and 50 for the rape, according to WRTV, an ABC News affiliate.
Jones had other brushes with the law, including other rape and burglary charges. Some of the crimes involved violence with scissors, a weapon used in Edwards’ killing.
Police found Edwards' partially burned body inside the home, which was on Indianapolis' east side.
Her wrists and legs were bound with electrical cords, and officers found signs of a struggle inside the home along with a rear broken window.
An autopsy determined that Edwards had died from thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
“The one thing that I think this message should be is you do a crime you’re going to get caught," Trawick said. "Your crime is going to catch up with you.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report