Police arrest 2 in connection with brutal murder of Austin choir teacher, Kathy Blair


53-year-old Kathy Blair ran the Christian Choral Society of Austin for the past 20 years -- providing music education for the home-schooled community.

On December 6th, Blair's own son found her brutally murdered in her bedroom at her home in north Austin.

At a Saturday press conference, Austin Police Commander Mark Spangler said during their investigation, Blair's landlord told them he had hired a man named Tim Parlin last May to put in a french drain in Blair's yard.

"He reported that Kathy told him several days into this job that she was dissatisfied with the work that Parlin had done," Spangler said.

Fast forward to early morning on December 6th, a man who lives nearby 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 then walking up the sidewalk and going towards the address on Tamarack," he said.

Austin Police found out that vehicle belonged to Parlin's sister who had loaned him her car.
  
She gave written consent for APD to search the vehicle.  Detectives found blood inside belonging to Kathy Blair.
  
When confronted with this evidence, Parlin, who had initially denied any connection to the murder, reportedly admitted a Galveston man named Shawn Gant-Benalcazar actually committed the murder.  APD says detectives drove to Galveston where Benalcazar gave a voluntary statement implicating himself in Blair's murder.

"He specifically said that Timothy took him to the address on Tamarack.  That he went inside the house and Kathy was there asleep in her bedroom.  He said that she lunged at him and he then stabbed her in the neck," Spangler said.

Parlin did some time for a burglary in 1993.  He has been arrested for a parole violation.  APD is working with the D.A. to determine other possible charges.

Benalcazar is in Galveston County custody charged with Capital Murder.  He'll be transferred back here in a few days.

David and Sonya Martin whose son took voice lessons from Blair are grateful justice has been served.

"I mean it's good to know.  It's good to know they caught the guy and now they're not wondering anymore and that's a good thing.  But it's just so, so sad," Sonya said.

The Martins both have degrees in music.  With the help of other parents of Blair's students, they have formed a new music education organization -- believing Blair would have wanted them to "keep singing."

"It will be difficult, it will be bittersweet...but it's what Kathy would want us to do," David said.

Benalcazar's bond is set at $1 million.  If that does get posted, he'll have to wear a monitor.

APD says this investigation is still on-going.
  
Blair's jewelry that Benalcazar made off with in a pillow-case after the murder has still not been found.
  
Many other questions remain here, like the relationship between Parlin and Benalcazar.  APD isn't sure how they knew each other -- they say possibly through a mutual friend.
  
As for the motive -- still unclear.  Commander Spangler doesn't believe Blair's dissatisfaction with Parlin's work is what sparked this.






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