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Stefanie Silvey Investigates... Alleged Murders of James Cable

Published: Apr. 1, 2004 at 12:11 AM CST|Updated: Aug. 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM CDT
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New Media Producer: Brad Maglinger

Louisville and Owensboro police say DNA evidence links James Cable to three murders in the 1980s.

Attorneys say Cable will first stand trial in Louisville for the murders of two Jefferson County women.

He will then be tried in Owensboro for the murder of 18-year-old Sandra Kellems. She was found beaten to death in a vacant lot in 1982. Prosecutors say technology not available at the time of the crimes is helping solve cold cases.

"You've seen in the media a lot, the Innocence Project out of New York has been getting a lot of publicity about freeing defendants who are requesting DNA analysis while they're in the penitentiary," says Daviess County commonwealth attorney Jay Wethington. "This is the other side of that sword. There are many defendants who are in the penitentiaries who don't want their DNA tested. This may be an example of why that is."

Police say Cable committed these murders after being paroled early on a life sentence for raping a Daviess County child.

He has an extensive record, and as Stefanie found out Wednesday, police say they will now test his DNA in other unsolved murders in Daviess County.

While searching through old news archives, Stefanie found that James Cable's name came up during the investigation into an unidentified man found dismembered in rural Daviess County in 1990. Cable was arrested shortly after that for the rape, kidnapping and torture of a 15-year-old Jefferson County girl. She was able to escape after killing Cable's accomplice, Philip Clopton.

Girl: "I woke up and he was asleep, so I got the gun and shot him. "

The victim and police say Clopton bragged about raping and dismembering other victims with Cable, including two of her friends who remain missing to this day.

Girl: "He tied them up and killed them."
Reporter: "Was Ray Cable there with him?
Girl: "Yes, he was. "

Because it was in the same time frame, and the unidentified man was also sexually assaulted and dismembered, the Daviess County Sheriff's Department tells Newswatch they will check DNA found on the body to see if it's a match to Cable, as will Louisville detectives.

"DNA has opened a number of doors for us in old homicide cases, and certainly these two defendants are going to be checked in other unsolved cases," says Gene Shirard of the Louisville police.

And Owensboro detectives are looking into other cases as well. Nineteen-year-old Candace Camfield was killed within months of Sandra Kellems, and in a very similar fashion. Both were killed by a blow to the head in almost the exact same place.

A former boyfriend of Camfield was ultimately convicted of manslaughter, despite blood found at the scene that didn't match the victim or the suspect.

"Evidence doesn't have any evidence, because the case has been disposed of," says Owensboro Detective Mark Saffrin. "But, I've checked with the crime lab, and the lady at the lab has been looking to see if anything has been sent in so we can test that."

In 1983, Cable was sent back to prison for an unrelated crime in another county. Until he was paroled again in late 1985, several other unsolved crimes were committed in Owensboro, including the disappearance of Shannon Green and Dewayne Bell and the murder of Angie Dickens.

"It's difficult for us from the standpoint that we would always like to bring some type of conclusion to every investigation we come across," states Doug Esther of the Owensboro Police Department.

As for James Ray Cable, he's not talking. He refused our request for an interview.