Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Houston man charged in cold case murders.
by khou.com staff
Posted on August 25, 2010 at 10:22 AM
Updated today at 10:54 AM
HOUSTON – A man long-suspected of killing a Houston woman and an infant in 1984 was finally arrested and charged this week.
Charles Leon Smith, 56, is charged with capital murder in the slayings of 23-year-old Pamela Clarence and 1-month-old Tashona Clarence.
Twenty-six years have passed since the young mother and her baby were killed in their home in the 4300 block of Rogers, but even after the case went cold, investigators never gave up.
The murders occurred on August 2, 1984. Police said Smith and Clarence were in a relationship at the time and had recently had a child together.
But that night, when Smith went to visit his girlfriend, investigators believe Pamela Clarence confronted Smith about another relationship.
Police said Clarence had discovered Smith had another girlfriend, who’d just given birth to Smith’s son.
When Clarence told Smith they should end their relationship, police believe he snapped.
Investigators said Smith strangled Pamela Clarence with an electrical cord and then smothered Tashona with a pillow.
The bodies were later found by concerned family members.
From the beginning of the investigation, police said they thought Clarence knew her killer, and they originally identified Smith as one of two suspects in the murders.
But investigators were unable to collect enough evidence to charge either suspect, and case went cold, lost among more than 700 other killings in Houston that year.
Then, when HPD cold case investigators reviewed the murders this year and again identified Smith as a suspect, things changed.
Police said Smith was taken into custody on August 23 and confessed to his role in the crimes.
He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning, and was behind held in the Harris County Jail without bond.
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