COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The man Columbus Police say is responsible for the murder of a former school superintendent says he is innocent.
Kareem Lane pled not guilty to his charges stemming from the 1992 stabbing of James Burns in Columbus Recorder's Court Friday morning.
Lane went before a judge for the first time since his arrest earlier this week in Alabama, nearly 18 years after the crime.
His preliminary hearing was closed to everyone except the media and the victim's family members.
Neighbors of the Burns testified they saw a masked man wearing a gray jogging suit hop into a gray Ford Ranger parked on the wrong side of the road on Broadway the night of the murder back in October of 1992.
A short time later, Lane was stopped nearby in a Ford Ranger and Columbus Police say they found an empty knife sheath inside and a gray shirt and sweat pants.
Burns wife tells police she was asleep next to her husband when she suddenly heard him yell out and the bed shake violently. She says she saw two flashes and watched her husband run to the front door where he died from his stab wound.
Detectives told the judge new DNA testing allowed them to send the recovered murder weapon off for testing and it came back with two samples: one from James Burns and the other from Kareem Lane, according to the lab technician. Those new findings led to his arrest this week in Pell City, Alabama.
When he was taken into custody and questioned by police, Columbus detectives told the judge they asked Lane if he knew why he was there and he nodded yes. Then, they say they asked him if "he knew that it was over" and he nodded yes and asked for a lawyer.
Lane's attorney, Stacey Jackson, asked the judge to dismiss his client's arrest warrant since the final DNA paperwork has not been received. Jackson says police acted on verbal confirmation from the lab. But the judge denied his request, recalling police testimony that the technician reported finding probable cause and a match to Lane on the knife.
Kareem Lane is being held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.