What Has Happened to James Clanton?

What Has Happened to James Clanton? ...

NBC's 'Dateline: A Promise to Helene' chronicles the heartbreaking death of a 21-year-old Massachusetts college student named Helene Pruszynski in 1980. She was living with her aunt and uncle, along with a friend, in Denver, Colorado, where she died on a cold January evening.

The worst part is that her case, which is said to have involved over 100 people from over two dozen organizations, was not resolved and closed until 40 years after the fact – until the perpetrator, James Curtis Clanton, was brought before the justice system.

James Curtis Clanton: Who Is He?

James Curtis Clanton, better known as Curtis Allen White, was released so he could live in suburban Denver, where he was supervised by a former counselor who had offered to assist him on that fateful evening. Helene, according to legend, was kidnapped from a bus stop to her aunt's house in Englewood at knifepoint.

Helene was raped by him in an open field, now known as Highlands Ranch, and she was later stabbed to death, leaving her to bleed out and rot until her body was discovered the very next day, at around noon, by the authorities. Despite having a male DNA sample from Helene's body and clothes, the investigators found no concrete clues.

James, who lived in Lake Butler, Florida, was discovered only in 2017 after looking into forensic genealogy. In late November 2019, the investigators obtained his DNA from a beer mug, which turned out to be a match. On December 11, James was charged with Helene's murder.

What Has Happened to James Curtis Clanton?

James Clanton was extradited to Colorado two days after he was arrested, where he would face a jury. It was on his journey to the Florida airport that he began confessing to everything he did to Helene. In what was initially supposed to be his preliminary hearing, he admitted to his crimes in court in February 2020.

The prosecution used his plea deal to highlight how the threat of capital punishment aided in bringing Helene some justice. James's attorney, on the other hand, said that James felt a lot of remorse for what he did all those years ago, which only intensified when he became a father. That is why he had no hesitation in confessing, pleading guilty, and allowing Helene's family to receive some much-deserved closure.

James Curtis Clanton was sentenced to life in prison in April 2020. Although he is currently serving a medium-security Bent County Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Colorado, he will be eligible for parole in December 2039.

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