Conkey Pleads Guilty to Unsolved 1992 Lexington Murder
A cold case partly solved by an admission of guilt.
Twenty years after the brutal killing of Lexington resident Kathleen Dempsey, Craig Wayne Conkey pleaded guilty today in Middlesex County Superior Court to the previously unsolved 1992 murder.
Conkey, who is already serving a life sentence for the 1994 murder of another Lexington resident, Mary Lou Sale, pleaded down to second-degree murder after initially pleading not guilty to a December 2011 indictment for first-degree murder in the Dempsey slaying.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman sentenced Conkey to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 15 years. The life sentence handed down through today's conviction is to begin today and run concurrent with Conkey's sentence from the Sale conviction and subsequent appeals.
According to authorities, Conkey brutally stabbed the 31-year-old Dempsey more than a dozen times during a botched burglary of her basement apartment on Lexington's Ridge Road on Aug. 23, 1992.
Dempsey did not immediately die from her injuries, and managed to call 911. But her call went unanswered for hours, until 10:46 a.m., when responders found her lying dead on her bedroom floor, covered in blood and still clutching the telephone.
According to evidence presented in court today, Conkey approached investigators about the Dempsey murder in 2010, saying he feared the Apocalypse was coming and he didn't want to die and go to hell alone.
Statements Conkey made during those discussions were supported by findings from the initial investigations, prosecutors said today.
New forensic testing and investigative techniques were helpful, but it's unlikely that evidence would have closed the case without Conkey's "damning admissions" and statements, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said in a press conference.
Check back with Patch for more coverage of the case and courtroom proceedings.