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Police, family speak out about arrest in 18-year-old murder case

PHOENIX — Eighteen years after a man was shot to death inside his business, Phoenix police have finally made an arrest.

Dean Babbitt, 69, is now charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the death of his business partner, Robert Krahn.

Krahn was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head on Feb. 3, 1996. Detective Clark Schwartzkopf said Babbitt reported the death and had been a suspect right from the start.

“He’s always been a strong investigative lead,” said Schwartzkopf. “The investigators at that time didn’t believe that they had enough evidence to prosecute him.”

Thanks to today’s technology, that changed.

“Over the last several months, we’ve been able to tie some loose ends together on the case,” Schwartzkopf said. “Through forensic imagery, re-looking at the crime scene, doing interviews and re-interviewing people, we believe we’ve gone through that threshold (that we have enough to prosecute).”

He would not talk about any of the evidence in the case.

Krahn’s father, Robert Krahn Sr., was emotional when he heard the good news but said it didn’t take away the pain of losing his son.

“I still remember when my daughter said on the phone, ‘Bob is dead,'” Krahn said. “Nobody should lose their kids.”

Schwartzkopf said that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has agreed to go ahead with the prosecution, and police are confident of a conviction.

Schwartzkopf said that he hopes the arrest gives Krahn’s family some well-deserved closure.