Trial date set for suspect in four-decade-old murder case

A trial is set for October 15 for a Des Moines man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 17-year-old Ottumwa girl in 1974.

A judge set the trial date for Robert Eugene Pilcher, 67, on Monday.

Pilcher has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of Mary Jones, whose body was discovered April 9, 1974, in a farmhouse. She had been shot to death and sexually assaulted.

Pilcher was interviewed in 1974 but never charged. Investigators say they arrested Pilcher in November 2012 after linking him to the case through DNA evidence.

He is being held in the Wapello County jail on $1 million bond.

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