Community Choir hopes to carry on Kathy Blair's legacy

A man is confessing to the murder of local choir director Kathy Blair.

Shawn Gant-Benalcaraz has been charged with capital murder and is currently in custody in Galveston.

He was arrested and charged over the weekend.

It was on December 6th that Blair was found brutally murdered in her bedroom in the 4600 block of Tamarack Trail.

But it's what led to the arrest that is interesting.

A neighbor was using a thermal imaging scope to get video of deer when he spotted a car parking around the corner from Blair's house.

It showed a male getting out of the vehicle and going toward the address on tamarack.

During interviews, Blair's landlord told police he hired a man named Tim Parlin to do landscaping on Blair's yard in May.

The landlord says Kathy complained she was dissatisfied with the work done.

At that point, police interviewed Parlin who initially denied any involvement in the case.

Later Kathy's blood was found in the vehicle he was in.

Parlin was arrested for a parole violation and told police it was Gant-Benalcaraz who had committed the murder.

"He specifically said that timothy took him to the address on tamarack. That he went inside the house, that Kathy was there asleep in her bedroom. He said that she lunged at him and he then stabbed her in the neck," said Commander Mark Spangler with the Austin Police Department.

The home-schooled community is carrying on Blair's legacy.

A new choir organization has been founded in her honor. They will be holding all of their rehearsals at Central City Austin Church. The first one began Monday night.

"We will be trying to follow Kathy's plan. In fact, she already had it planned out and scheduled and the dates on it. We're going to try to follow that as closely as we can. It includes of course the concert in the spring, but there's also the choir festival," said Dan Martin, a parent who volunteered to make this happen.

Children's Choir Interim Director, Lora Maeurer had two girls taught by Blair.

She says the goal now is to carry forward the original vision and tradition of excellence.

"We all have a very big shoes to fill and as you can see there are three teachers right now just filling her shoes she did everything and so my goal is to have a concert at the end of the semester that she would be happy with and that the kids will be proud that they continued her work," she said.

The organization will keep students singing throughout the semester. Long-term solutions are currently in the works.

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