14 Year Old Cold Case Cracked

By Maureen Mespell
By Jeff Neumeyer

August 15, 2012 Updated Aug 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- 14 years after the fatal shots were fired, charges are filed in a Fort Wayne murder.

The new development takes the chill out of a cold case crime.

The suspect is actually someone already in hot water with the law.

Court documents say 36-year old Bernard McClaney has confessed to killing Artie Rittenhouse in April 1998.

He's been locked up in the Ohio prison system since 2004, for aggravated robbery and voluntary manslaughter in a Columbus Ohio crime.

Back in 2004, the Rittenhouse family went public, pleading for tips to help solve the murder of their loved one.

They learned of the new charge on Wednesday.

They declined comment.

A new perspective energized the investigation.

Early on, police hit a wall in trying to solve the crime.

Then a new detective, Cary Young, was put on the case.

He ordered that a black bag left at the crime scene be analyzed for fingerprints and DNA evidentiary value.

Meantime, he re-interviewed witnesses, and became convinced that McClaney was responsible.

Police say a DNA sample obtained from McClaney in prison matched the duffel bag swabs.

More follow-up investigation served to tighten the vice grip on McClaney.

Then early this month, officers were summoned to the Toledo prison by the target of the probe, and we're told he confessed.

Court documents indicate McClaney went to the home of Rittenhouse to trade a stereo amplifier for marijuana.

The probable cause affidavit didn't say why, but it did indicate he admitted to pulling the trigger, leaving the black bag with the amplifier at the scene, before taking off.

He was scheduled to get out of prison in 2016.

Now, all bets are off.

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