Pilcher Pleads Guilty in Plea Deal

Robert Pilcher

Robert “Gene” Pilcher

OTTUMWA — On Tuesday, Sept. 16, Robert “Gene” Pilcher, 68, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April 1974 slaying of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones.

Mary Jayne Jones

Mary Jayne Jones

Pilcher was charged with first-degree murder in November 2012 after authorities said DNA evidence linked him to the crime. Jones was beaten and shot twice at close range.

In January 2014, a judge declared a mistrial after jurors said they could not reach a verdict in the case.

Under the plea deal, both sides recommended a 10-year sentence, which Judge Richard Meadows imposed on Pilcher. Pilcher will receive credit for the two years served since his arrest, and also will quality for reductions for good behavior. He may be out of prison in as little as five years.

“I’m glad that it’s on record, finally, that he did what we always knew he did,” said Judith Cabanillas, Jones’ sister, who was just 13 when her older sister was killed. “Jayne was special and she would have done beautiful things with her life.”

Read more at The Des Moines Register

We Remember: Upcoming Cold Case Anniversaries

Listed below are upcoming cold case anniversaries and, where noted, birthdays the victims would have celebrated.

Sandra Vanderhoef
Age at Report: 42
Missing From:
Webster County, IA
Missing Since:
September 22, 1986
Dung Kim Truong
Washta Access
Washta, IA
Ida County
Case # 97-12883
September 22, 1997

Aaron Marr
37 YOA
210 S. Second St.
Ames, IA
Story County
September 22, 2007

Charles Englehart
70 YOA
700 blk of Main St.
Davenport, IA
Scott County
September 23, 1935
Frank Goff
36 YOA
612 SE Jackson
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1977-35047
September 23, 1977
Susan Kersten
38 YOA
Iowa City, IA
Johnson County
Case # 95-11388
September 24, 1995

Carl “Ken” Gallmeyer
70 YOA
1091 240th St.
Nashua, IA
Chickasaw County
September 25, 2012
Greg Nepstad
1128 6th
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1975-34651
September 27, 1975
Terri McCauley
18 YOA
33rd & Pavonia St.
Sioux City, IA
Woodbury County
September 27, 1983
Robert Bruce “Kip” Bates III
39 YOA
Carter Lake, IA
Pottawattamie County
September 27, 2007
Lyman S. Elledge
65 YOA
Colesburg, IA
Delaware County
September 28, 1951
George R. Keller
61 YOA
Rural Route 34
Clarke County, IA
Case # 81-05701
September 28, 1981

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