Man, 61, sentenced to life in prison for killing girlfriend and infant in 1984

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Friday, December 11, 2015
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A 61-year-old man who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend 31 years ago has been sentenced to life in prison.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A family haunted by the gruesome murder of a mother and her baby for more than three decades now has justice.

Charles Leon Smith, 61, was been sentenced to life in prison Thursday after a jury found him guilty of murdering Pamela Clarence in 1984.

Prosecutors believe he strangled Clarence with a lamp cord, and then smothered their one-month-old baby, Tashona, with a pillow.

Clarence's niece, Katrina Rene, just 11 years old at the time. She found them at their home in the 4300 block of Rogers.

"I remember what I was wearing that day. I can't remember what I wore last week but I remember what I was wearing that day," said Rene. "I remember it rained later. You never forget that."

In 2010, Houston police again interviewed Smith and he allegedly confessed. The family says Pamela was breaking up with him because he got another woman pregnant and that led to the violence.

"I wish my mom and dad were here to see it but I knew one day we would know what happened to my sister. She didn't deserve that," said Jo Ann Pettit, the victim's older sister.

Smith was always a suspect. His defense attorney, Michael Fosher, told Eyewitness News Smith has professed his innocence since Day One. He will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

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