January trial date for suspect in four-decade-old murder case

67-year-old Robert Eugene Pilcher

After nearly four decades, the murder case of Mary Jayne Jones is a month away from coming to an end.

Online court records indicate that District Court Judge Richard Meadows confirmed last week that the first degree murder trial of 67-year-old Robert Eugene Pilcher will begin on Jan. 14.

Jones was found shot and sexually assaulted in a rural Blakesburg farmhouse in April of 1974. Jones was only 17 at the time of her death.

Pilcher was interviewed in 1974 during the initial investigation, but it wasn't until November 2012 that law enforcement developed DNA evidence linking Pilcher to the crime.

Pilcher has been in custody on a $1 million bond since his arrest.

A motions hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 8.

Unless something unexpected happens at the hearing, Pilcher's trial will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Wapello County Courthouse.

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