There's been monumental news in recent days regarding what would normally be called cold-case murder investigations.
The biggest news in my mind was delivered Wednesday night when Paul Adcock was arrested and charged with the death of his mother nearly 23 years ago. Lela Mae Adcock was found dead in her Rebel Hill Street home just two days before Christmas on Dec. 23, 1996.
This is a case where I'd told myself there never would be an arrest because of the amount of time that had elapsed since the crime. We used to do an update on this case every year around Christmas as the city's lone unsolved murder in recent history, but stopped the practice years ago because we figured we were beating a proverbial dead horse.
Then came a phone call from District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis on Wednesday night telling me Paul Adcock had been indicted for his mother's murder. I had always heard whispers from the law enforcement community he was the prime suspect and we even interviewed him in several of our annual stories.
While I know there's always great hope that justice will be served in any case, especially a violent murder, I'm suppressing my enthusiasm this charge will result in a conviction.
For me, the amount of time is simply too great to overcome. I have trouble recalling details of some things which happened six months ago, let alone 23 years. How could anyone's memory be that clear from so long ago.
Also, I can't help but wonder why it took 23 years to make an arrest. If I was sitting on the jury, it would take an awful lot of explaining to convince me there was enough evidence when the legal process has taken so long.
Also grabbing headlines in recent days was the preliminary hearing for Marty Judd, a man charged with killing his neighbor, Rebecca Mooneyham, while she slept in her living room. This is a murder that took 10 years to make an arrest as Mooneyham was killed in 2009.
This case appears more winnable in my book because there's hard evidence involved. A shell casing was found at the scene reportedly from a rare Russian rifle and such a Russian rifle was reportedly found in the home of Mr. Judd.
That's a good place to start for the prosecution, but I wonder if anyone else might have had access to that weapon. Will the state be able to prove the rifle was in Marty Judd's hands, not another possible suspect, at the time of the murder? That's the $10 question.
We'll have to wait and see how these cases play out in court. After all these years, it's encouraging to see arrests have finally been made in murder cases I told myself would never be solved. However, an arrest is a far cry from a conviction.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.