Photo courtesy HCSO
The case languished until October 2009, when Clary was arrested and charged with Nichols's murder. It was the result of an investigation began in March by the Harris County Sheriff's Office cold-case squad, a two-person crew tasked with taking on more than 500 cases stretching back to the early 1970s.
Clary was living in Louisiana when he was arrested, and although he initially posted bond and fought extradition, he ultimately surrendered to Harris County authorities December 14.
The strange thing is, according to the original notes, no one seems to have ever questioned Clary, Sgt. Eric Clegg tells Hair Balls.
"I cannot speculate" on why Clary was never questioned, Clegg says. "Some of these cases, you read them, and you wonder -- kind of scratch your head sometimes."
Better late than never, though, especially for Nichols' sister, who lives in Houston, and his son, in Washington state.
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Clary has a history of arrests (including assault, burglary, theft, and resisting arrest) in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia, dating back to the 1960s, Clegg says.
The cold-case squad was established a while ago but had been defunct for a few years, due to lack of manpower, Clegg says. Incoming Sheriff Adrian Garcia made it a priority to reform, and the two-person squad was brought back to life in March.
"We review the cases, and some cases just have a ton of potential," Clegg says. "Others, it's just not there....We kind of look at the solvability of the case."
It will take some time before this one can be officially solved, but right now it's looking pretty good. (Or bad, if you're Clary).