Accused superintendent killer indicted

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Kareem Lane has been indicted by a Muscogee County Grand Jury for the 1992 murder of former school superintendent Dr. Jim Burns.

The 36-year-old was arrested a year ago and charged with the deadly stabbing, nearly 18 years after the crime. On Tuesday, he was indicted on one count of murder and two counts of felony murder. He's pleaded not guilty. According to court documents, Lane stabbed Burns with a knife during a burglary on October 19, 1992 in Burns' home on Broadway.

During Lane's preliminary hearing last year, 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.

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 in Pell City, Alabama where he's been living with his wife.

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, says he's never hid from authorities and has no criminal record. He also served in the military and was a soccer coach and plant worker when he was charged. In 1992, he was a 17-year-old senior at Shaw High School.

Jackson says he has received the first round of discovery in the case and expects to receive the rest of the police and forensic reports from the state at or before Lane's arraignment, scheduled for May 13th.

Kareem Lane is being held in the Muscogee County Jail on $750,000 bond. He has requested multiple times for his bond to be reduced but those requests have been denied.

The state has not shed any light on a motive in the case but when asked about the mention of a burglary in the indictment, Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore says that doesn't necessarily mean Lane was trying to steal from the house. She says, by law, someone can be charged with burglary if they break into a home with the intent to commit another felony.

Lane's indictment comes less than a week after another well-known cold case wrapped up in Columbus. A jury found Michael Curry guilty of murdering his pregnant wife and two young children with a bush ax inside their Rockhurst Drive home in August of 1985. He has yet to be sentenced.

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