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Montana man arrested in Washington cold case

Published On: Dec 04 2012 06:34:50 AM MST
Updated On: Dec 04 2012 09:07:16 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

New information Tuesday on a cold case arrest south of Missoula in the small town of Victor.

59-year-old Clifford Reed was arrested by Ravalli County deputies at a business Monday on charges of second degree murder filed in Washington state.

He's in the Ravalli County Jail on a $5 million bail.

Court affidavits claim Reed murder 28-year-old Sandi Johnson when she spurned his romantic advances in 1996.

King County, Wash., deputies arrested Reed in 1997 but say they could not prove their case against him.

One sheriff's deputy told NBC Montana they revisited the case in 2004 and in the years since then gathered enough evidence to lead prosecutors to file criminal charges.

Officials would not elaborate on what the evidence was, but said it was not DNA.

People in Victor remember Reed from junior high school. We uncovered school records that show he attended school in Victor all the way through ninth grade. But no one we talked to, including his friends, wanted to talk with us about him.

Ravalli County Undersheriff Perry Johnson describes his arrest as simple.

Johnson said, "The detectives from Washington state were in the area.  They arrived shortly after the arrest.  They had an opportunity to talk to this man as a suspect in their case."

King County sheriff's deputies told NBC Montana that Reed has a criminal history, and that's what we found when we dug into his past.

In 1997 he pleaded guilty to robbing and hitting a woman in King County. Court documents say he did it because she refused to have sex with him after taking his money.

Reed is fighting extradition, but could be taken to Washington in the coming days to face the charges against him.  NBC Montana will following this story as it develops, and we will keep you updated with the latest details as soon as we know more.

To read the documents in this case, click here.