A man is finally behind bars for the slaying of a 16-year-old in 1989.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An ex-convict who frequented a strip club where a 16-year-old runaway worked will spend nine years in prison after agreeing to drop his fight over a charge that he killed the girl in 1989.

Timothy Langley Street was arrested in January 2005, hours after he was released from a Florida prison, on a warrant charging him with murder in the long-dormant case.

Street, 56, entered an Alford plea to a charge of second-degree murder on Thursday, refusing to admit guilt while acknowledging there is enough evidence to convict him. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Chrystal Ann Taylor was a runaway who used a fake ID to get a job at a Charlotte topless club.

She disappeared in August 1989 after leaving the club with some men celebrating a bachelor party. Three months later, utility workers found her decomposed body about 15 feet off a Charlotte road.

Street was a prime suspect of police, who said he had been a regular at the club, offered to drive Taylor home the night she disappeared and was the last person seen with her. But they lacked evidence to convict him.

In 2003, a relative of Taylor's asked police about offering a reward for leads in her killing. Detective David Phillips, a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cold-case homicide squad, began to investigate.

He sent a hair found on Taylor's body for DNA testing, which indicated it likely belonged to Street, prosecutor Marsha Goodenow said at Thursday's hearing.

The test "put us over the hump," Phillips said. "Without it, I don't think we would have ever been able to charge him."

Street was arrested on Jan. 1, 2005, when he was released from prison in Bay County, Fla., where he had served time for grand theft.

Taylor's parents and other relatives were in court Thursday.

"I loved her with all my heart," her father, Terry Taylor, said afterward. "I wanted her to become something in life. But she started running around with the wrong people."