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Archive for Sunday, November 5, 2006

Confessed killer receives life sentence

November 5, 2006

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— An Olathe man was sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor who spurned his sexual advances.

District Judge Richard Smith sentenced Roger Ratliff, 46, to life in prison without parole in the murder of Alieghya Clark, 21.

By pleading guilty more than a month ago, Ratliff - who served time in a Minnesota prison a decade ago for a 1985 sexual assault - avoided the possibility of the death penalty.

"The main goal of the family was that this man never gets out of prison, and that's been accomplished," Miami County Atty. David Miller said.

Clark disappeared May 28. Olathe police and other authorities tracked fruitless leads for almost two months.

Investigators believed Ratliff held the answers in Clark's disappearance, but he refused to talk. Then in late July, while jailed on a charge pertaining to a truck he owned with his wife, Ratliff opened up.

He told detectives he ran into Clark, who attended the same church he did, on the night of May 28 when he and his stepson were headed out to go fishing. According to Ratliff, after he got bait for his stepson, he left him at Frisco Lake in Olathe and went back to pick up Clark.

The two went for a drive and ended up at Hillsdale Lake in Miami County. Ratliff said he made an advance toward Clark.

"She told him no," Miller said. "He drove her to another area where he raped and killed her."

Ratliff told detectives where to find Clark's body in a rural Miami County field.

He also told them to go to Frisco Lake, where they recovered pieces of the woman's clothing.

Ratliff's sister, Diane Traynor, said she had spoken to her brother several times since he confessed.

"The thing we discuss most is the hatred of what he's done," she said.

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