BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – For more than 17 years police in Boulder suspected Michael Clark killed Marty Grisham, but they never were able to put all the pieces together.
Then a new detective was assigned to the case, and Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner says things began to fall into place.
“He’s been on our suspect list for 17 years now,” Beckner said, referring to Clark, who was arrested on Thursday.
Clark, 36, is believed to have shot and killed Grisham on the night of Nov. 1, 1994. The murder took place at Clark’s apartment, located on the 5600 block of Arapahoe Road.
Police say Grisham was dining with his girlfriend when he heard a knock and came to the door and was shot four times. The suspect then ran away.
Boulder police say Clark knew Grisham’s daughter and was viewed as a person of interest in the investigation because he stole checks of Grisham’s and forged nearly $4,500 from Grisham’s account prior to the murder.
Grisham was the city’s Data Processing Director. He reported that the theft had taken place and identified Clark as a suspect on the same day he was murdered.
Two days after the murder Clark was arrested on a forgery charge and eventually entered a guilty plea to the theft.
“(Clark) said he was able to access Grisham’s home because he had been given a key by Grisham’s daughter so he could take care of Grisham’s cat. (At the time) he denied any knowledge of or involvement in Grisham’s murder,” Boulder police wrote in a prepared statement.
While the evidence has never changed, Beckner says the new detective gave the investigation the spark it needed.
“We have been doing some re-interviewing, looking at the evidence a second and third time and just trying to connect all the pieces,” Beckner said.
An arrest affidavit reveals bullet casings from a 9 mm handgun were found at the scene. Detectives now believe Clark found someone to buy him gun about a month before the murder from a pawn shop in Aurora near Colfax and Dayton. Clark admitted to having a gun in a 2010 interview but told police he didn’t remember what happened to it.
Another key is what Clark told a cellmate while he was at the Boulder County Jail on the forgery charges.
Walter Leon Stackhouse told police clark admitted to the murder but added “they can’t find me guilty because they don’t have the gun.”
The murder weapon was never recovered in the case so a conviction would hinge on circumstantial evidence.
“The real justice comes if we get a conviction in this case,” Beckner told CBS4.
Clark turned down CBS4′s requests for an interview.