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Marcellus McCluster, imprisoned in Georgia, was charged with the 1982 murder of Army Private René Blackmore

A convicted murderer, who is serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder, has been indicted by a Georgia grand jury in connection with the death of an Army soldier who was found dead by the side of the road from a gunshot blast decades ago.

Marcellus McCluster, 64, has been served with a warrant for the death of René Dawn Blackmore at a correctional facility near Augusta, where he is being held on a 1983 Stewart County murder conviction. The indictment charges him with one count of malicious murder and four alternative counts of felony murder, officials said.

Blackmore, 20, is from Arizona and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia when she disappeared on April 29, 1982. She disappeared from Columbus, the town outside the military installation, on her way back to her barracks.

A month later, her wallet and sweater were found on the side of the road in nearby Cusseta, just a few kilometers from the army post.

On June 28, 1982, Blackmore’s remains were found off a logging road a few miles south of Chattahoochee County, Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said during a news conference Thursday. It was determined that she died from a shotgun blast.

Assistant District Attorney for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Kimberly Schwartz noted that there is no statute of limitations on murder.

“Of all the crimes in all the books, this is the only crime that deprives the victim of the fundamental right that we all have, which is the right that we were given to live the rest of our lives,” she said.

René Dawn Blackmore was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia when she disappeared while returning to her barracks from Columbus.
René Dawn Blackmore was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia when she disappeared while returning to her barracks from Columbus.
AP

The United States Army Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and GBI identified McCluster as a possible suspect within a year of the murder. However, the investigation eventually stalled.

In 2020, Reynolds formed a cold case unit made up of retired GBI investigators. Blackmore’s death was an initial focus of the unit, he said.

Officials did not disclose what evidence led them to McCluster.

In a statement, Blackmore’s mother, Donna Reitman, thanked investigators for never giving up the search for her daughter’s killer.

“I’ve lived those 40 years and always felt the pain that their absence causes,” she said. “And to think that no one outside of her family and friends even cared. With a grateful heart, that belief was proven wrong on March 28, 2022.”

McCluster is expected to be arraigned in Chattahoochee County Court on April 25.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/09/georgia-inmate-marcellus-mccluster-charged-in-1982-killing-of-army-private-rene-blackmore/ Marcellus McCluster, imprisoned in Georgia, was charged with the 1982 murder of Army Private René Blackmore

JACLYN DIAZ

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