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Georgian inmate charged decades later in 1982 for murder of army soldier


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A convicted murderer serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder has been indicted by a Georgia grand jury in the death of an Army soldier who was found dead on the side of a road in the aftermath of a gunshot decades ago.

Marcellus McCluster, 64, has been issued an arrest warrant for the death of Rene Dawn Blackmore at a correctional facility near Augusta, where he is being held for a 1983 Stewart County murder conviction. The prosecution charges him with one count of malicious murder and four other counts of felony murder, officials said.

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This undated photo provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations shows Rene Blackmore. Blackmore, 20, was an Army soldier stationed at Fort Benning when she disappeared in April 1982.
(AP)

Blackmore, 20, from Arizona, was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, when she went missing on April 29, 1982. She disappeared while returning to her barracks from Columbus, the town east of exterior of military installation.

A month later, his wallet and sweater were found by the side of a road in Cusseta, a few kilometers from the army post.

On June 28, 1982, Blackmore’s remains were found on a logging road a few miles south of Chattahoochee County, Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds said at a news conference Thursday. It was determined that she died from a shotgun blast.

Kimberly Schwartz, assistant attorney for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, noted that there was no statute of limitations for the murder.

Georgian inmate charged decades later in 1982 for murder of army soldier

Marcellus McCluster.
(Georgia Department of Corrections)

“Of all the crimes on all the books, this is the only crime that takes away from the victim that fundamental right that we all have, which is the right to live the rest of our life that has been granted to us,” he said. -he adds. she says.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and GBI identified McCluster as a possible suspect within a year of the murder. However, the investigation eventually bogged down.

In 2020, Reynolds launched a cold case unit made up of retired GBI investigators. Blackmore’s death was an initial unit objective, he said.

Officials did not disclose what evidence led them to McCluster.

Georgian inmate charged decades later in 1982 for murder of army soldier

Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Army recruits and houses the Army’s infantry and armor schools.
(The American army)

In a statement, Blackmore’s mother, Donna Reitman, thanked investigators for never giving up on the search for her daughter’s killer.

“I lived those 40 years still feeling the pain his absence causes,” she said. “And believing that no one outside of family and friends even cared. It is with a grateful heart that on March 28, 2022, that belief was proven wrong.”

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McCluster is expected to be arraigned in Chattahoochee County Court on April 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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