Decades Old Murder Solved In Harris County
by: Bill Stamps, September 24, 2011 5:09:59 am
It was never really case of who dunn it. It was more a case of how do we prove who did it.
Back in 1982 Manuel Pena, who was 34 at the time, said he found his girlfriend Sherri Strong hanging in an apparent suicide. He was a suspect at the time, but charges were never filed.
Nearly three decades later the case was reopened.
"We were able to take it a little farther than the original investigators did by dealing more indepthly with the family, friends, co workers, ex-wives of our suspect, things like that."
Detective Eric Clegg says the 63 year old Pena has a history of violence, most of it domestic. He’s been married seven times and works as a photographer out of his home. Clegg says they don’t have a motive for the killing, but something he told investigators in 1982 stood out.
By his own account , in '82 he said that he learned that night that she was two months pregnant with his child. Hours later she was found dead.
So why didn’t investigators arrest Pena back then?
"They were definitely on the right path. They were trying to make this thing happen and they just came up short for whatever reason."
Detective Clegg says the family of Sherri Strong is happy to hear an arrest has been made nearly thirty years later.
"They’re very grateful. I spoke with both the mother, the father and her brother. They’re very grateful and for thirty years, they’ve wanted justice."
Pena was arrested at his home Thursday and is currently in the Harris County Jail.