A family is still struggling to process the death of a young father in a heartless crime that netted the culprit just $304.

December 7, 2000 is a date Kelly Castlin will never forget.

On that date, her husband Rodney Castlin was working as the manager of the Wingate Hotel in Kennesaw when he was held up by two men with a gun. After handing over the cash, Castlin was pistol-whipped and then shot in the chest.

A senseless murder that would baffle investigators for the next 14 years.

"I just remember the knock at the door," said Kelly. "I remember police saying there was a shooting at the hotel and can they come in. They told me Rodney was shot and killed. I was in shock. It was my worst nightmare."

District Attorney Vic Reynolds was always bothered by the fact that Rodney Castlin's killer had not been brought to justice. Police worked hard on the case, but never caught a break from clues or witnesses.

Eventually the case went cold.

"That was a young man who did everything right," said Reynolds. "He was married, had a family. He appeared to be a devoted husband and father. He worked a full-time job and went to school."

While Kelly struggled with the harsh reality that she would no longer have Rodney in her life, she was also 8 months pregnant and had a 4 year-old son to explain it all to.

"I held his hand and I told him that his dad had been killed and he looked at me and said 'I have to take care of you and the baby.' I will never forget those words," said Kelly.

Through her memories and faith, Kelly found a way to move on. But she never gave up hope that police would find Rodney's killer.

"In my mind, I knew that at some point we would know who did this," said Kelly. "You always believed they'd figure it out."

Last year, members of the Cold Case Unit began reviewing evidence, testimony and motive. They worked tirelessly, volunteering their time in hopes of delivering justice or at least some closure for the family.

"We thought all along, this is a doable case," said detective Morris Nix. "We thought we needed just one little bit of a break in the case and we got it with fingerprints."

John Dawes was one of the original detectives on the case. He was able to bring Kelly the good news.

"When I heard detective John Dawe's voice on the phone, I was speechless again," said Kelly. "It just took me back to the day that he told me he would never give up on the case."

It was a moment Kelly had been waiting for and a moment detectives live for.

"It's an amazing adrenaline rush," said John Dawes.

Though the case is not over yet, the suspect-James Lorenzo Randolph-is still awaiting trial on charges of murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm.

This case is a cautionary tale on how greed and disregard for human life can lead to tragedy.

Kelly says she keeps a close eye on the courts but still chooses to focus on her family and honoring her husband's legacy.

"He is among the angels. There is no doubt in my mind," said Kelly.

Randolph remains in the Cobb County Jail.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Digital Content Producer

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