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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.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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