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Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Clearwater police charge Alabama man in 1986 killing

Published:   |   Updated: February 5, 2014 at 03:43 PM

Clearwater police have charged a man in Alabama in the case of a woman found dead in her apartment 27 years ago, thanks to DNA evidence.

Stephen Manning Lamont, 57, of 182 Glory Road, Montevallo, Ala., was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the slaying of Janet L. Staschak, according to police.

Lamont was charged after an interview at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Columbiana, Ala., where he is being held. His extradition to Pinellas County is pending.

Staschak, 25, was found dead Nov. 3, 1986, in her apartment at 903 S. Greenwood Ave., Clearwater, after she had been strangled and sexually assaulted, according to police.

DNA evidence from the scene was resubmitted and matched only one person out of the 13 million profiles in the databank: Lamont. His information was in the system because he had served time in an Alabama prison for robbery.

Lamont had escaped from the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., in 1986 with four other inmates, according to police. Police said that during an interview this week, he initially denied ever being in Clearwater until detectives mentioned his arrest in 1987 under an alias, Keith Minchew.

At first, he denied knowing the victim, then later said he knew her but didn’t know anything about her death, according to Clearwater police. Lamont then talked of knowing and dating the victim, then he said he went to her apartment and found her dead. He said he altered the scene and moved her body and even drove her car to Tampa International Airport.

Eventually during the interview, Lamont admitted to detectives that he killed her. And, he said, the victim knew him as Minchew, the alias he had used while he was an escapee and arrested in Clearwater.

“No matter how old these cold cases are, our detectives never stop investigating them,” said Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway. “It’s important to us to find these killers so the families can have some kind of closure.”