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Police make arrest in 1986 murder
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Photo courtesy of CLEARWATER POLICE
Stephen Manning Lamont is in jail in Alabama waiting on extradition to Pinellas County.
CLEARWATER – Clearwater police detectives arrested a man on Feb. 4 in a cold-case murder of a Clearwater woman from more than 27 years ago.

Janet L. Staschak was found dead in her apartment on S. Greenwood Avenue on Nov. 3, 1986. Police said she had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

Detectives have charged Stephen Manning Lamont, 57, with first-degree murder in her slaying. Lamont now lives in Alabama, and Clearwater detectives traveled there to talk with and subsequently arrested him.

“No matter how old these cold cases are, our detectives never stop investigating them,” said Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway. “It’s important to us to find these killers so the families can have some kind of closure.”

Homicide detectives routinely revisit old cases with the goal of making an arrest in the case, a police report said. They often use new technology that was not available decades ago to see if they can find the killers. That is what happened in Lamont’s case.

DNA evidence taken from the scene was resubmitted for testing. Results came back with a match. Lamont’s profile was in the system because he had served time in an Alabama prison for robbery. Of the 13 million DNA profiles in the databank, the only hit belonged to Lamont, the report said.

Lamont escaped from Holman Prison in Alabama in 1986 with four other inmates. During the recent police interview, he initially denied ever having been in Clearwater until detectives confronted him with his arrest in 1987 by Clearwater Police under an alias. At first, he denied knowing the victim, then later he said he knew her but didn’t know anything of her death.

“Lamont then talked of knowing the victim and dating her, then coming to her apartment and finding her dead,” the report said. “He said he altered the scene and moved her body and even drove her car to Tampa International Airport. Eventually during the interview, he admitted to detectives that he killed her. And, he said, the victim knew him as Keith Minchew, the alias he had used while he was an escapee.”

Lamont is being held at the Shelby County Jail in Alabama, pending extradition to Pinellas County. The Shelby County Sheriff, Chris Curry, and his detectives assisted in the investigation.
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