Georgia man already serving life sentence indicted in 1982 killing of female solider

After decades of stalled investigatory progress, a man in Georgia has finally been indicted for the 1982 killing of a female military service member from Arizona who was stationed at Fort Benning at the time of her death, as WSB-TV in Atlanta reports.

Marcellus McCluster, 64, now faces charges of malice murder and felony murder, thanks to the work of a grand jury in Chattahoochee County, over the death of Rene Dawn Blackmore, who was 20 years old at the time of the events in question.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Blackmore disappeared after leaving her military barracks and starting out toward Columbus, Georgia on April 29, 1982, with her wallet and sweater later turning up in the side of the road near Cussestta, Georgia.

Two months then passed before Blackmore’s body was found near a a logging road in Chattahoochee County, with the cause of death being a shotgun blast, as the GBI further noted, according to Law & Crime.

Though McCluster had been quickly identified by the GBI and the U.S. Army as a possible offender, the original probe into Blackmore’s death ultimately stalled, and it was not until the 2020 assembly of a cold case unit to reexamine the case was assembled that things moved toward his indictment.

According to the GBI, McCluster is currently in prison serving a life sentence for a different, reportedly unrelated murder dating back to 1983, and he is set for arraignment on the new charges on April 25.

In the wake of McCluster’s indictment, Vic Reynolds, director of the GBI, declared himself “extremely proud” of the team that worked to hard to seek justice for Blackmore at long last.

Echoing those sentiments was Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz, who lamented all that was stolen from the victim in this case by saying, “We don’t know what Rene Blackmore’s life would have looked like. We know that she didn’t get to celebrate her 21st birthday. But we can’t know what accomplishments she might have celebrated,” adding:

We know she would have been 59 years old if she could have been with us today, but we don’t know who she might have loved, what relationships she might have built, what dreams she might have realized – all of those things got extinguished from a blast from a cheap shotgun about two miles from the middle of nowhere down in south Chattahoochee County 40 years ago.

According to Reynolds, the probe into Blackmore’s death remains “active” and “open,” and anyone with further information about the case is asked to contact the GBI so that a long overdue degree of justice can be obtained for the victim and those who loved her.