Three Decades Later, Cops Solve Cold Case

After nearly three decades, a man suspected in a cold case murder in Harris County is behind bars, charged with killing another man in 1980. The arrest is the work of a tiny, but effective cold case unit at the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

The murder took place near a bar in the Channelview area in March of 1980. The victim was found shot after he flashed a wad of cash at the Maverick Club on Market Street. Now, nearly 30 years later, Sheriff's detectives have charged a Louisiana man with the murder.

"I think cases just require a second eye."

That's Sgt. Eric Clegg, one of two detectives who make up the department's cold case unit.

"Sometimes when a fresh set of eyes come in and look at it, you see things maybe that were overlooked initially or weren't looked at hard enough. So I think they just deserve and require a second viewing and see if you can come-up with anything."

Clegg says they didn't collect any new evidence in the old murder, but did re-interview witnesses and developed some new leads in the case. He says violent criminals should never think they can get away with murder, no matter how long its been.

"I don't think it's so much the time. I don't think it matters if it's 30 years or three years. I think more than anything, it's just, what can you do with this case? Is there much potential there? Sometimes you read them and you just see a lot of possibilities and other times it's just very limited in what you can do."

Clegg says the Sheriff's Department still has a backlog of 500 unsolved cases.   

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...