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New York Man Arrested For 1946 Murder of Miami Officer

February 17, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 61-year-old man was arrested for the murder of a Miami police officer in 1946, thanks to an anonymous tip from a conscience-stricken witness eight months ago, authorities said Friday.

Leroy Strachan, a freight elevator operator, admitted to Miami detectives in late January that he had shot the officer when he was 17, police said. The victim, Officer John Milledge, was one of Miami’s first black police officers.

Strachan was arrested Thursday on a first-degree murder warrant, said Miami Detective George Cadavid.

″He knew us,″ said Cadavid. ″He said, ‘Are you going to arrest me?’ ″ and asked to call his attorney in Miami.

″He has admitted shooting the policeman and there is other evidence,″ Cadavid said.

Strachan refused to waive his right to fight extradition during a brief arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday.

Strachan’s lawyer, Alan Mass, told Judge Bruce Allen the fact that Florida has capital punishment played a part in Strachan’s decision.

″No way if it’s within our power that Mr. Strachan is going back to Florida,″ Mass told reporters.

The judge ordered Strachan held without bail pending a March 14 hearing.

Strachan is married and has three grown children, one of them a state corrections officer.

Milledge was fatally shot Nov. 1, 1946, while on patrol outside a football game in Miami’s Overton section, after he had chased and beaten several teen- agers who tried to sneak into the game, Cadavid said.

The case was reopened in July 1989, because of a tip from a woman who had seen a youth with a .22-caliber rifle running from the shooting scene.

″The reason she never came forward was because her husband was very good friends with the shooter,″ Cadavid said. The woman’s husband died a few years ago ″and her conscience was bothering her,″ he said.

Cadavid and his partner came to New York in January and interviewed Strachan, then returned to Miami to build a case, locating witnesses.

Florida doesn’t have a statute of limitations on murder.

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