Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man explains 1986 murder as sex mishap

CLEARWATER — An Alabama man linked by DNA evidence to a 1986 Clearwater murder nearly three decades after the killing changed his story about a half-dozen times during interrogation, according to an arrest affidavit obtained Wednesday by the Tampa Bay Times.

Speaking this winter with Florida detectives at the Shelby County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office, Stephen Manning Lamont went from denying any connection to Clearwater or the November 1986 rape and strangling death of Janet Louise Staschak, to saying he discovered her already dead, to admitting he killed her and cleaned up the crime scene, to saying he dated her and accidentally asphyxiated her during an "auto-erotic" sex act.

Lamont, 58, was booked Tuesday morning into the Pinellas County Jail, where he is being held without bail following his extradition from Alabama. He is charged with one count of first-degree murder.

The break in the case came after Clearwater Police Department detectives, who routinely submit cold case evidence to local, state and national DNA databases, learned in December 2011 that old vaginal swabs and fingernail clippings in the Staschak case matched Lamont.

Lamont served time in an Alabama prison from 1986 to 1998 on a robbery conviction, records show. However, during his first year in prison, Lamont and four other inmates escaped.

It was during those five years on the lam that, authorities said, Lamont lived in Clearwater under the alias "Keith Minchew" and crossed paths with Staschak.

Staschak, 25, was a cake decorator at the Kash n' Karry grocery store. When she failed to show up at work two days in a row, worried friends contacted management at York Apartments, 903 S Greenwood Ave., who contacted police.

Authorities discovered an opening cut into a rear window screen and Staschak's nude body lying prone in bed, a blue sheet pulled up to her neck and clues that her wrists and ankles had been bound with duct tape, documents show.

Police initially arrested a neighbor, Tom Franklin Sawyer, who confessed to the killing during a 16-hour interrogation. But the case was thrown out after psychologists in 1988 testified that the admission was coerced by detectives' threats and lies about non-existent evidence that Sawyer was convinced he didn't remember because of his history of blackouts, the Times reported.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4153.

Man explains 1986 murder as sex mishap 05/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'

    Blogs

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney