Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to 1974 Wapello Co. Slaying

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines man has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he killed a 17-year-old Iowa girl in 1974 in rural Wapello County.

The Ottumwa Courier reports that 66-year-old Robert Pilcher entered his plea Wednesday in a video conference with the judge.

Wapello County sheriff's deputies and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agents arrested Pilcher on Tuesday at a Des Moines motel. He's charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Mary Jones, of Ottumwa.

Jones' 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 finally linked Pilcher to the case through DNA evidence.

Pilcher is being held in the Wapello County Jail on $1 million bond.
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