Thursday, November 13, 2008

Man sentenced to 25 years for cold case murder


A man who admitted to a 1980 murder in Des Moines was sentenced in King County Superior Court Thursday to nearly 25 years in prison.

James Maynard Blair, 54, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder in the slaying of Kirk Parker. Investigators used DNA evidence to link Blair to the crime, charging him in August.

Blair is already in prison serving time for a 2006 assault conviction.

In 1980, Des Moines police officers discovered Parker beaten and strangled to death in his mobile home after going there on a welfare check. But the initial investigation stalled when police could not locate any suspects in the killing.

Then, in January 2006, Des Moines Police Sgt. David Mohr reopened the case and sent items believed to have DNA evidence from the killer to the state crime lab. According to investigators, lab technicians found Blair's genetic signature on several items from Parker's home.

According to court records, Blair told investigators that he had been hitchhiking in the area during the February night that Parker was killed. He said Parker picked him up and took him to his mobile home, where Blair killed him in a drunken altercation.

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