Crime

Stabbing suspect allegedly killed 2 others

SOMERSET — A man arrested in a stabbing death in Pulaski County earlier this week has been charged in two unsolved homicides in the county from the 1980s.

Michael A. Abner, 46, implicated himself in the two old cases while police were questioning him about the most recent slaying, police said.

During questioning, Abner told police he wanted to "get something off his chest," said Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood.

"His exact words were, he was going to tell us something that was going to blow our minds," Wood said.

Police charged Abner with murder in the deaths of Mamie Mercer, 80, who was killed in October 1983, and Mae Stringer, 87, who was killed in December 1988. Both women were strangled, police said.

Stringer's body was found in her home after a fire, and her death was originally attributed to the blaze.

However, Abner told police this week that he strangled her and then set the fire, Wood said.

State police initially investigated Mercer's death and interviewed Abner about it at the time. But another person provided an alibi for him, said Trooper Don Trosper, spokesman for the London state police post.

With the new information from Abner, police reinterviewed that witness, who recanted statements from 26 years ago, Trosper said.

On Tuesday, police charged Abner with stabbing Jack Roerink to death. Roerink, a retired General Motors employee, lived within a mile of Abner in the Eubank area in northern Pulaski County.

Police said they found Abner hiding under a mobile home and said they recovered items stolen from Roerink, including his truck.

Police think robbery was the motive in all three murders in which Abner is charged, said Detective Lt. Brett Whitaker of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.

Police are checking whether Abner might have been involved in other slayings in Kentucky or elsewhere.

He has lived in other states, so police in Kentucky will contact authorities in those places.

Abner had a lengthy arrest record in Pulaski County before being arrested this week, including charges of burglary, theft and repeatedly violating emergency protective orders.

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