Man Charged In 28-Year-Old Oklahoma Murder Case
Jennifer Loren, Oklahoma Impact
OKLAHOMA CITY -- He was one day away from becoming a free man, but then he was charged with a murder that's gone unsolved for the past 28 years.
In 1983, 77-year-old Ola Kirk was raped and beaten to death in her home in Geary, Oklahoma. Family members never knew there was a suspect and the case went cold.
Fast-forward 28 years and today Ola Kirk's family has answers. Lester Blackbear is charged with first degree murder in her death.
"It's a relief. Maybe the wait is over. I know it's probably going to be a long process yet, but it's getting closer and the family wants closure," said family member Kay Mathews.
But the family may not be so close to closure if not for former OSBI agent Kyle Eastridge. After leaving the OSBI Eastridge revealed there had been a suspect all along and his name was Lester Blackbear.
Eastridge blamed the OSBI and the former district attorney for dropping the ball all those years ago.
"This isn't just one of those we speculate he did it. This is one you got witnesses and DNA evidence that says he did it," Eastridge said.
Last year Eastridge found Blackbear living off the grid in Phoenix, Arizona after doing time for several other violent crimes. Blackbear was extradited back to Oklahoma on an unrelated charge and sentenced to a short prison term.
Meanwhile, Ola Kirk's family pressured the new DA and the new director of the OSBI to push forward with a new investigation, which they did.
Blackbear was denied parole while the OSBI tested old evidence from the murder scene for new DNA samples, and it paid off.
After 28 years, and just one day before Lester Blackbear was set to be released from prison, the new DA charged him with first degree murder in the death of Ola Kirk.
For a family tortured by the unknown for almost 30 years, there's new hope they'll soon have all the answers for Ola and her killer locked away forever.
"More than anything we just want to keep him where he can't hurt anyone else ever again," a family member said.
Blackbear could face the death penalty if convicted.