Man found guilty of 1984 killing of Navy recruit in Seminole County

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — After deliberating for less than two hours Thursday afternoon, a jury found Thomas Garner guilty of killing Navy recruit Pamela Cahanes in Seminole County more than 30 years ago.

After he was convicted for first-degree premeditated murder, the judge sentenced him to life in prison.

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Garner, of Jacksonville, was arrested in 2019 for the 1984 cold case murder of Cahanes, who was found murdered and sexually assaulted in the yard of an abandoned home in Sanford.

Prosecutors said Garner’s DNA was founder under Cahanes’ fingernails and in the victim’s underwear.

READ: Man accused of killing Navy recruit takes stand in cold case

Garner took the stand on Monday and admitted he may have had sex with Cahanes, but he didn’t kill her.

Cahanes’ sisters spoke out after the verdict was reached on Thursday.

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“I’m elated,” her sister Eileen Bergmann said. “I feel a sense of relief that it’s over, it’s done, finally after all these years. I guess I couldn’t give up because Pam was not here to speak for herself, and so somebody had to.”

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.