Charged with homicide 40 years after Georgia assassination

In a case that went unsolved for four decades, a Georgia grand jury charged an inmate with murder for killing a young Army soldier in 1982, who was found fatally shot by the side of the road weeks after she was last seen how she left her barracks.

Authorities announced that a grand jury in rural Chattahoochee County near the Georgia-Alabama line has indicted 64-year-old Marcellus McCluster, who already has a life sentence of murder in an unrelated case of the murder of Rene Dawn Blackmore 40 years ago has served.

The 20-year-old woman was an Army soldier stationed at Fort Benning when she disappeared in April 1982. Her wallet and sweater were discovered nearly a month later beside a road near Cusseta, a few miles from the Army post. A second month passed before Blackmore’s body was found on a logging road a few miles away. Investigators determined that she had been killed by a shotgun blast. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said at a news conference Thursday that McCluster was charged on March 28. He is scheduled to be charged in a Chattahoochee County court on April 25, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Blackmore’s mother, Donna Reitman, said in a statement that her daughter was a “focused young woman” who “loved to laugh and have fun with friends.” “I lived those 40 years and always felt the pain that their absence caused,” Reitman said. “And to think that no one outside of her family and friends even cared. With a grateful heart, that belief was proven false on March 28, 2022.” McCluster is charged with felony murder and malicious murder in Blackmore’s death. He is already serving a life sentence on a murder conviction stemming from an unrelated 1983 murder in Stewart County. It was not immediately known if McCluster had an attorney representing him.

Reynolds said GBI agents and Army criminal investigators had identified McCluster as a possible suspect within a year of Blackmore’s death, but the original case had stalled.

The investigation received new life in 2020 after the GBI formed a cold-case unit made up of retired agents. Blackmore’s murder became the focus of the new entity’s initial efforts, Reynolds said.

Jennings White was the original GBI agent assigned to Blackmore’s death, and he assisted in the Cold Case Unit’s investigation. He said he had never forgotten Blackmore and knew her murder could be solved.

“I’m just so glad I can see this whole thing turning out,” White said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)