“We didn’t choose these cases just because of who they were,” Columbus Police Sgt. Harvey Hatcher said of two of the three cold case homicides investigators cleared.
One homicide that Cpl. Randy Long cleared last summer got little attention — a case more obscure than the 1985 bush-ax slayings of Ann Curry and her two children and the 1992 fatal stabbing of Muscogee school superintendent Jim Burns. When Long charged a suspect in Joanne Walton’s 1996 death, hardly anyone noticed.
“Cleared” means police have arrested a suspect, and in these cases the suspects have not gone to trial on the charges against them.
These are the suspects and the three cases:
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Jerome Upshaw, 34, has been charged with murder in the Dec. 7, 1996, slaying of Walton, 32, who was found shot in the head on South Lumpkin Road near Walker Street. Charged with Walton’s homicide in June 2009, Upshaw already was in jail, accused of killing Anthony Jerome King, 27, on Aug. 24, 2007. Upshaw was convicted of murder in King’s case last September and sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.
Kareem Lane, 35, of Pell City, Ala., was arrested this past May 3 and charged in Burns’ Oct. 19, 1992, slaying. Burns was stabbed in the back in his 620 Broadway home. Investigators said DNA evidence from the knife matched saliva samples from Lane, who at the time of the homicide was a 17-year-old Shaw High School senior.
Michael Curry, 51, was arrested May 20, 2009, and charged with using a bush ax to hack to death his pregnant wife Ann, 24, daughter Erika, 4, and son Ryan, 20 months, in the family’s Rockhurst Drive home on Aug. 29, 1985.