Woman charged in 1990 slaying of Smithville man

12/03/2013 10:22 AM

12/03/2013 5:34 PM

Clay County cold-case detectives said they have connected a 44-year-old woman to the unsolved homicide of a man in 1990.

Authorities have charged Annette Davis with second-degree murder in the slaying of 70-year-old Clifford McClanahan in Smithville. Davis is being held in the Clay County Detention Center, with bond set at $500,000.

Authorities said McClanahan was stabbed to death and was found in his house in the 600 block of Quincy Boulevard early on Aug. 11, 1990.

During the initial investigation, numerous fingerprints and palm prints were recovered from the crime scene, but no suspects were identified. Authorities closed the investigation when they ran out of new leads, Sheriff Paul Vescovo said.

In January, Vescovo directed the cold-case squad to reopen the investigation. In September, investigators learned that palm prints recovered from the bathroom sink matched those of Davis, whose prints were filed years after the homicide, Vescovo said.

According to court records, investigators found Davis on Monday.

She told detectives that she had dated McClanahan for several years and cared for him. On the day McClanahan was killed, investigators believe he caught Davis smoking crack cocaine in the kitchen, became upset and slapped her in the face. Davis is thought to have stabbed McClanahan with a knife from the kitchen counter, washed her hands, changed clothes and left.

Investigators believe she walked to U.S. 169, where she contacted a man who drove her to her residence in northeast Kansas City.

Vescovo said he was a 37-year-old sergeant with the Smithville Police Department at the time of the homicide and grew determined over the years to see it solved. Vescovo was sheriff from 2001 to 2009 but lost re-election. He sought the office again in 2012 and was re-elected.

“This case always stayed in the back of my mind,” he said. “This happened on my watch, this was a particularly brutal crime and I wasn’t going to let it go.”

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