Family Of Man Murdered 14 Years Ago Relieved Justice May Be Served

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP) -- A Topeka man already charged with a 2012 arson and murder now faces another murder charge stemming from a fourteen year-old shooting, Shawnee Co. District Attorney Chad Taylor announced on Thursday.

Shawnee County court records show that Monroe Eugene Lockhart III, 40, was charged Thursday with a first-degree murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Damon J. Anderson, of Topeka, on Valentine's Day 2000. The records didn't list a lawyer for Lockhart in that new case.

Fourteen years later Anderson's family says they can rest a little easier. They feel relieved to know justice may be served. They also hope this sends a message to the community to never stop investigating cold cases.

"She was old enough to know that her father was slain. That's a heavy burden to grow up carrying."

Anderson's daughter, Jasmine, was only five years old when he was gunned down Valentine's Day night of 2000 as he was coming home from work. Her was shot and killed on his aunt's front porch, where he lived.

Every year, the holiday reminded her he was not coming back, and his family - that his killer had not been caught.

"We knew someone would be brought to justice eventually, and that day has come," Anderson's uncle and former Topeka mayor James McClinton told 13 News.

Police didn't have to go far to arrest Lockhart -- he is jailed, awaiting trial for the January 2012 killing of his business partner, Corey Brown.

McClinton told 13 News the family suspected Lockhart in their case the whole time.

"We knew they knew each other, I don't know to what extent. We just haven't been able to reconcile how their knowledge of each other would've gotten to the point that he needed to take his [Anderson's] life. It just didn't make sense. There have been numerous family discussions about it over the years just trying to figure out why."

McClinton says this breakthrough would not have happened without the family's and investigators' determination. The family kept in contact with investigators and law enforcement throughout the past 14 years, constantly checking for updates. McClinton now lives in Dallas, but used his time in Topeka to search for answers.

"We're thankful they never closed the book on this case, they always kept asking questions. I'm sure there's some things they couldn't tell us along the way, but they did let us know they weren't ever going to give up and they didn't."

The family hopes the trial goes quickly so they can move on.

"I spoke to the Assistant DA today and I assured him that we will be there to support the DA as they prosecute this case."

For now, Jasmine and Anderson's mother are finally feeling relief.

"She can rest a little easier now knowing that he'll be held accountable. This will help her be able to move on with her life. You can't celebrate because you can never replace a father."

The family hopes what happened will send a message that a cold case doesn't mean it's closed.

"It's been a long road and I hope that this case will demonstrate to the public to never stop discussing unsolved crimes because every bit of information that you can get or provide can help resolve these cold cases.

We never gave up, we always knew someone would be called to justice on this."

Lockhart is already serving an almost 10-year sentence for a violent home invasion unrelated to the murder cases.

He will appear in court on the new charges Friday morning.

13 News will follow this story, so stay with us as we continue to find out more.