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Decision time coming in 2002 Athens murder case

Abdus Salaam Laroche

By Joe Johnson

Decision time is coming soon for a man who was arrested last year on charges he fatally stabbed a woman in her westside apartment 16 years earlier.

Abdus Salaam Laroche, 35, of Decatur was arrested May 8, 201n for the 2002 alleged murder of 49-year-old Pamela Crisler in the mental health and substance abuse counselor’s home at College Place Apartments. The complex off West Broad Street is now called University Oaks.

Pamela Crisler

Crisler’s homicide case grew cold while Laroche flew under law enforcement’s radar despite multiple arrests for misdemeanor and felony offenses in the subsequent years.

He had never been convicted of a violent crime or had a felony conviction that sent him to prison, so a sample of Laroche's DNA as was never required to be collected.

A break in the case came after Laroche was convicted in late 2017 in the Atlanta area for felony copyright infringement for selling bootlegged DVDs and as a condition of probation he agreed to provide a DNA sample, according to Athens-Clarke County police.

That sample was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the national FBI database, and last November, police in Athens were notified that Laroche’s DNA matched genetic evidence found at the Crisler murder scene.

A Clarke County grand jury subsequently indicted Laroche for malice murder, two counts of felony murder, first-degree burglary and aggravated assault, according to Clarke County Superior Court records.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Now, Laroche has been given an August 23 deadline to either enter a plea or negotiate a plea agreement, according to court records.

If the case is not resolved that day, Laroche will go on trial beginning August 26, according to records.

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