Man pleads guilty in 1980 homicide in Douglas County

Helene Pruszynski / Photo courtesy Colorado Bureau of Investigation

Helene Pruszynski / Photo courtesy Colorado Bureau of Investigation

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A man has pleaded guilty to killing a Douglas County woman 40 years ago.

James Clanton, 62, pled guilty Friday to murdering Helene Pruszynski on January 16, 1980.

Pruszynski, 21, was found stabbed to death in a vacant field on Daniels Park Road in Douglas County. Investigators believe she was abducted while walking from a bus stop, returning home from her internship.

Clanton was arrested in Union County, Florida, in December. Investigators used forensic genealogy to track Clanton, who had legally changed his name in the decades since the murder.

Clanton pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder after deliberation. This crime carries a sentence of life in prison, but due to the laws in place in 1980, Clanton can apply for parole after serving 20 years.

Clanton will be sentenced on April 10.

James Clanton / Photo via KDVR

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