Arrest made in 1992 stabbing of Muscogee Co. school superintendent

Muscogee superintendent, Dr. James Burns, was killed in October 1992 inside his home on Broadway.
Muscogee superintendent, Dr. James Burns, was killed in October 1992 inside his home on Broadway.

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's a case that sent shock waves through the Columbus community -- the brutal stabbing of 50-year-old James Burns.

Police say the superintendent of schools had just returned from a family trip to the mountains and was asleep next to his wife inside their home on Broadway in October of 1992 when an intruder stabbed him in the back with a hunting knife.

Burns tried to chase after him and died in the doorway, the murder weapon found nearby.

Neighbors say they saw a masked man leaving the scene in a Ford Ranger. Police say it was Kareem Lane, who was a 17-year-old student at Shaw High School at the time.

"They described the vehicle and a short time later, a vehicle was stopped on Wynnton Road in Columbus being driven by a male by the name of Kareem Lane. Inside the vehicle and during the search of the vehicle, investigators found an empty knife sheath that appeared to be the type sheath that would have housed the murder weapon that was seen inside the residence," Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren said in a press conference Tuesday at the Public Safety Building.

Lane was questioned after the murder but let go because according to the Chief, police never had enough evidence to charge him until now.

"In October of 2008, the murder weapon was sent to the National Medical Services Lab located in Willow Grove, PA for DNA testing. In November, the lab returned a finding and stated that they had a DNA profile on the knife," Boren explained.

The police chief says a saliva sample was then taken from Lane and it was a match.

He was arrested by a SWAT team at him home in Pell City, Alabama northwest of Talladega, AL Monday night.

The big question surrounding the case remains unanswered- Why?

Boren says the motive is still not known.

Lane will be held in the Muscogee County Jail.

He will appear in Columbus Recorder's Court in the next few days and if probable cause is found, then his case will go before a Grand Jury.

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