Clearwater Police make arrest in 1986 cold case murder of Janet L. Staschak

2:57 PM, Feb 5, 2014   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- Police have arrested a man who murdered a Clearwater woman more than 27 years ago. 

Stephen Manning Lamont has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Janet L. Staschak who was found strangled and sexually assaulted on November 3, 1986. 

Homicide detectives routinely revisit old cases with the goal of making an arrest and often utilize new technology that was not available decades ago to see if they can find the killers.

That's what happened in Lamont's case.

DNA evidence taken from the scene was resubmitted and came back with a hit. It matched Lamont, whose profile was in the system because he had served time in an Alabama prison for robbery. Of the 13 million DNA profiles in the database, the only match belonged to Lamont. 

Clearwater detectives then traveled to Alabama to talk with Lamont. 

Lamont had escaped from Holman Prison in Alabama in 1986 with four other inmates. He initially denied ever visiting Clearwater until detectives confronted him with his arrest in 1987 by Clearwater Police under an alias.

Lamont eventually admitted to killing Janet Staschak and saying that she only knew him as Keith Minchew -- the alias he used while he was an escapee. 

He said he altered the murder scene and moved her body and even drove her car to Tampa International Airport.

"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."

Lamont is being held in the Shelby County Jail in Alabama, pending extradition to Pinellas County.

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