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.

Earl J. Lambert
58 YOA
E. 14th street bridge
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1962-12962
October 1, 1962

Warren Swanson
53 YOA
709 25th
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1984-37964
October 1, 1984
Lisa Ann McCuddin
23 YOA
Near Holiday Inn
Fort Dodge, IA
Webster County
October 2, 2004

Lyric Cook
Age at Report: 10
Evansdale, IA
Would have celebrated her 13th birthday
October 2
Kenneth Harker
34 YOA
Missing From:
Sioux City, IA
Presumed Deceased
October 3, 1996
Wilma June Nissen
23 YOA
Highway 182
Lyon County, Iowa
Case # 78-06487
October 4, 1978
Colleen Simpson
Age at Report: 14
Missing From:
Bedford, IA
Missing Since:
October 5, 1975
James Jamison
Age at Report: 75
Missing From:
Burlington, IA
Missing Since:
October 5, 1987
Jared Parks
18 YOA
Urbandale, IA
Killed May 11, 2009
Would have celebrated 24th birthday Oct. 5

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