COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Nearly 18 years after the brutal murder of 50-year-old James Burns, his family feels that justice is finally being served.
For them, the arrest of his long-time suspected killer Kareem Lane marks the beginning of the end.
"I don't know if you could ever get closure on something as senseless as this tragedy was. He had two grandchildren at the time. Today, he would have had six grandchildren," said the family's spokeswoman, Marquette McKnight.
This week, Columbus Police Department officials say they received confirmation that new DNA results found on the murder weapon were a match to Lane.
In 2008, detectives submitted it to a lab with advanced technology.
I am proud of those detectives. We have been following this for the past two years. We took a shot on DNA in this case and it panned out," Chief Ricky Boren said.
Kareem Lane was a senior at Shaw high school at the time of the killing when Burns oversaw the entire school system. The chief says its unclear as to why he allegedly stabbed Burns in the back as he slept in his home on Broadway. At the time, police reported the killer had a key to the front door.
"It probably brings them a little bit of relief to try to focus on the end of this and bring back the focus on what he did that was good for our school system and sort of celebrate his legacy as opposed to remembering him simply because of the tragedy of his death," McKnight said.
Kareem Lane is being held in the Muscogee County Jail.
He has been questioned by authorities since his arrest in Alabama this week but police are staying tight-lipped on their interrogations as the proceeds to court.