Arguments set in trial over teen’s 1974 killing

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 11:07 a.m. CDT

OTTUMWA (AP) — Closing arguments are scheduled at the first-degree murder trial of an Iowa man charged in the 1974 slaying of a 17-year-old girl.

The arguments will take place Thursday in Ottumwa at the trial of Robert “Gene” Pilcher, who is charged in the death of Mary Jayne Jones.

Jones was found naked, beaten and shot to death in a farmhouse near Ottumwa on April 9, 1974.

No one was charged in her death for 38 years, when testing linked Pilcher’s DNA to semen stains on the blanket where Jones was found.

Pilcher’s defense attorneys say that evidence doesn’t prove he killed Jones. They say the semen could have been from another sexual encounter he had in the same bedroom days earlier.

If convicted, Pilcher faces life in prison without parole.

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