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New death row inmate Curtis Clinton a suspect in 1994 killing


Curtis Clinton


SANDUSKY, Ohio — Police in northern Ohio are reopening their investigation into an unsolved 1994 murder, this time focusing on a man recently sentenced to death in the killing of a young mother and her two children.

Curtis Clinton, 42, was sentenced to death last week for the September 2012 murders of 23-year-old Heather Jackson, her 3-year-old daughter and her 20-month-old son. Curtis also was convicted of raping the 3-year-old girl.

Detectives say there are several similarities between that crime and the unsolved April 1994 killing of 73-year-old Ida May “Todd” Franklin, also of Sandusky.

Police are now starting a new investigation into Franklin’s killing from the beginning, including conducting DNA testing, the Sandusky Register reports.

“I want to solve this to bring closure to the family,” Sandusky Detective Dana Newell said.

Clinton’s Cleveland attorney, Bob Dixon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Police reopened the case after a resident reported that Clinton used to live in Franklin’s neighborhood and frequently visited her.

Curtis also knew Jackson, police say.

On April 9, 1994, Franklin’s niece went to her aunt’s home and found her body under a mattress propped against a couch. She had been strangled and her throat slit.

Newell said it didn’t appear that Franklin had been sexually assaulted. There was no evidence that the killer had broken into the home, leading police to believe Franklin knew her attacker.

Detectives hope a bloody knife at the scene may contain traces of the killer’s DNA evidence.

“It makes me feel good that they are trying,” said Pam Castile Soirell, another of Franklin’s nieces. “They did not forget her, and that lets me know they care.”

Similar to Franklin’s killing, Jackson’s body was found on Sept. 8, 2012, stuffed between a mattress and a box spring. She and her children had been strangled.

In addition to the Jackson family’s killing, Curtis was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 1997 death of Misty Keckler of Fostoria. Her body was found naked and bound in a bathtub; she had been strangled.

Although Clinton originally was charged with murder, he later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His attorney had argued that Keckler’s death was the result of choking during sexual activity.

Seven months after Clinton was released from prison, Jackson and her children were killed.

While he was in jail awaiting trial, Clinton spoke with his mother, according to court testimony.

“I don’t know what it is,” Clinton told this mother. “I just lose it. I get overwhelmed.”

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