COLD CASE: Man Goes On Trial For 1974 Murder

robert pilcher

Another decades old cold case could be closed this week in southeast Iowa.

The first degree murder trial of Robert Pilcher began Monday in Ottumwa. He’s charged with the murder of Mary Jayne Jones nearly 40 years ago.

The 17-year-old girl was found dead in a farmhouse in rural Wapello County on April 9, 1974.

Pilcher was a suspect at the time of the murder but police didn’t have the evidence to prove his guilt.

That changed in 2012 when evidence from the cold case was put through modern DNA testing.

Pilcher was arrested at a Des Moines hotel in November 2012.

mary jayne jonesHis trial is expected to last two weeks. He faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

The trial comes after authorities used DNA evidence to solve a 1984 triple homicide, also in Wapello County, last week.

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