Some Justice At Last for Lexington Murder Victim?

According to Fox news, killer convicted for another Lexington murder could be on the verge of being charged with first-degree murder in the 1992 stabbing death of Kathleen Dempsey, a 31-year-old graphic artist.

The murder of Kathleen Dempsey, unsolved since 1992, may be nearing a resolution.

According to an announcement from the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, authorities this morning will announce significant developments in the nearly 20-year-old murder of Dempsey, a 31-year-old graphic artist who was brutally stabbed multiple times by an unknown assailant in her Ridge Road apartment on Aug. 23, 1992.

Last night, Fox News reported Craig Conkey, already in jail for the murder of 49-year-old Lexington resident Mary Lou Sale, is about to be charged with the first–degree murder of Dempsey, who was repeatedly stabbed by an intruder in the bedroom of her Ridge Road apartment.

Conkey was twice convicted for Sale’s murder but won two appeals and new trials. In 2009, he plead to second-degree murder and was locked up at MCI Cedar Junction. The following year, he reportedly offered information in the unsolved Dempsey and was transferred to Main State Prison, but never delivered and was transported back to Cedar Junction in September of this year, Fox says.

Now, according to Fox, Massachusetts State Police have again approached Conkey about the Dempsey murder and this time, the station's sources say, he’s talking. 

According to reports, an intruder entered Dempsey’s basement apartment in the early morning hours of Aug. 23 and stabbed her repeatedly in her bedroom. She called for help, but it took five hours for someone to respond to her call for help and she was found dead when her call was answered at nearly 11 a.m.

A week later, then-Town Manager Richard White announced ex-prosecutor Ralph Gants would join the investigation into the mishandled call.

According to a Globe story from Sept. 1, 1992:

Gants, a former federal prosecutor in Boston, will join his investigation into why it took five hours for someone at the Lexington Fire Department to respond to a telephone call Kathleen Dempsey made Aug. 23 at 5:30 a.m. when she pleaded, "Help me, I've been stabbed."

A dispatcher and a supervisor initially dismissed the call as a hoax. Help was not sent until 10:47 a.m. when it was too late. Dempsey, a 31-year-old graphic artist, was found dead in her basement apartment on Ridge Road.

Editor's Note: Due to a reporting error, the story posted at 10:10 a.m. said Dempsey called 911. Later today, officials said the town had not yet adopted the 911 system at the time of the murder. Check back on Patch later this week for more information about the crime and the call.

JournoGrad December 21, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Very sad, especially since she could have survived had her call not been dismissed. ...I hope Conkey's not given another chance at a deal for talking! (Assuming MCI Cedar Juntion is a higher security prison than Maine State Prison?)
Holly Pearson December 21, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Living on after a child is murdered is unbearable enough - that Kathleen may have lived if her call for help hadn't been dismissed... I'm so, so sorry for Kathleen Dempsey's parents and her family.
James Fisher December 21, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Was the dispatcher fired?
Patrick Ball (Editor) December 21, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Regarding Dempsey's call for help, I was told today that this occurred just before the town switched to the 911 system, but that's something I'm looking into. In the next day or so, I'll try to post a story with some more information about the crime and the call.
Peg Aloi December 22, 2011 at 01:16 AM
Kathy was a friend of mine and I was following this case at the time. The newspapers (including the Globe) reported that the dispatcher "listened frantically" to try and make out the address but could not, as a way of explaining the failure to respond to her call. It turned out they lied and had never sent anyone. The case led to a debate over "enhanced 9-11" which could allow responders to determine a location automatically; but that was not the issue in this case: failure to take the call seriously was. Since Kathy was killed by a neighbor, it is possible she may have been able to identify her killer, if help had reached her in time. We will never know. I hope her loved ones find peace with this application of justice announced today.
Holly Pearson December 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM
If Kathleen had lived and been able to identify her attacker, poor Mary Lou Sale would not have been brutally murdered.
Steve Crowley December 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Members of the fire department should of been sent to jail and held accountable.
Linda M December 26, 2011 at 02:01 AM
From what I remember.. the call taker was a civilian and not a firefighter. The firefighters, I am sure, would have responded to the call, IF they were notified of the call. The dispatcher did not do his job. The dispatcher was either fired or quit. Anyone remember?


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