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Strickland Convicted in May 1987 Robbery-Slaying

August 23, 1988 GMT

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ A man arrested with his teen-age girlfriend after a nationally televised show linked them to a robbery and slaying has been convicted of the killing.

Jerry Strickland, 26, was found guilty Monday of the May 11, 1987, robbery, kidnap and murder of a gasoline company money courier, said Dan Wangler, a clerk for Circuit Judge James Thorburn.

Elmer DeBoer, 38, was shot twice in the head after being robbed of $11,000 at the gas station where he had gone to pick up receipts, police said. Melissa Munday, 18, Strickland’s girlfriend and mother of two of his children, worked at the station.

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Strickland and Munday left Michigan after DeBoer’s slaying and wound up in Moses Lake, Wash. They surrendered in February after they happened to see NBC’s ″Unsolved Mysteries″ broadcast on DeBoer’s death and the pair’s disappearance. Police in Moses Lake also received 15 to 20 calls from other viewers of the show who thought they recognized the couple.

″I can’t say I’m glad it’s over, because it will never be over for me,″ a weeping Mary DeBoer, the victim’s widow, said outside the courtroom after the verdict.

The murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole; sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 9.

Prosecutors dropped murder and kidnapping charges against Munday in exchange for her testimony against Strickland. She still faces armed robbery charges in juvenile court.

She testified last week that she participated in the robbery but didn’t know about DeBoer’s death until Strickland confessed to her two months later.