The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

September 18, 2013

1970s murder case delayed

OTTUMWA — A man accused of a 1974 murder has a second judge-ordered delay in his trial date.

Online court filings show Robert Pilcher is not scheduled to plead his case until Jan. 14, 2014.

Pilcher, 67, was arrested in 2012 by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office at a Des Moines motel. He is accused of the shooting death of Mary Jayne Jones, a teen who had recently moved to Ottumwa at that time.

Investigators in 1974 said the alleged victim, Jones, 17, was sexually assaulted and shot to death at a farm west of Ottumwa near Blakesburg. At that time, Pilcher had been interviewed by police and released.

However, the case has changed. Felons are now required to submit a DNA sample to law enforcement, which goes on record similar to the way fingerprints are kept. Authorities say it was that DNA evidence which led them to the arrest. Pilcher has had at least one felony conviction.

The trial for the murder of Jones had originally been scheduled to take place in May, but a continuance was granted; that moved the trial to October. Pilcher had waived his right to a speedy trial. The judge has kept Pilcher’s bond the same: $1 million, cash only.

According to past Courier articles, in 1975, Pilcher was found guilty on charges of sodomy that occurred "in a farmhouse west of Ottumwa" April 5, 1974, four days before the body of Jones was discovered.

According to an October 1974 Courier article, a request that Pilcher be committed as a "criminal sexual psychopath" was dismissed following a psychological and psychiatric evaluation at Oakdale Medical Facility.

Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony, punishable by life in prison.

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0617 OTT Wapello Co Fair color photo -L -M Come one, come all to the Wapello County Fair

    ELDON — The Wapello County Fair is just around the corner, kicking off with entries being welcomed at Wapello Hall and the Iowa Agricultural Hall from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, entries for competition will be received from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siegel, Rubel face off in forum OTTUMWA — For Steve Siegel, a political campaign is nothing new. For Tom Rubel, being the candidate is a first. Now they want the same job. Siegel and Rubel are seeking the Democratic nomination for SD 41, the Iowa Senate district which includes Ottu

    May 29, 2014

  • 0530 OTT Oak tatters picture color Oak leaves left in tatters

    OTTUMWA — Trees throughout Iowa have been terrorized by the likes of Emerald Ash Borer and other dangers in the past months and now oak trees throughout Iowa are in a little bit of more trouble because of a disease called oak tatters. Thankfully, tho

    May 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Help fight hunger OTTUMWA — The groups began with a question: How to better help Wapello County residents who don't have enough decent food. Next week, they'll decide if they've found any answers. The food security project, Growing Wapello Together, had small groups m

    May 28, 2014

  • Attempted murder trial set for July KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County man accused of attempted murder could head to trial in a remarkably short time. Dimitrious Royal has a trial date of July 15. If that date is when the trial actually begins, it would take place just more than 11 weeks

    May 28, 2014

  • Agency aces assessment OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it. "The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's som

    May 27, 2014

  • County backs bike rides OTTUMWA — Bike rides in Wapello County just received a personal push of goodwill from Wapello County Board of Supervisors. Tuesday, supervisors signed a resolution of support for three area bike rides to be conducted in June. The rides include the H

    May 27, 2014

  • 0527 OTT EMS week color photo -L -M ORHC celebrates EMS Week OTTUMWA — During National EMS week, May 18-24, Ottumwa Regional Health Center (ORHC) celebrated its staff, the community EMS providers and the importance of being prepared in emergency situations through education. The ambulance service at ORHC, also

    May 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moving into the future OTTUMWA — Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning joked after the board approved upgrading the county’s servers Tuesday. “You can put away your quills.” Jokes asides, Wapello County will now have more opportunity to maximize its server resources. The

    May 20, 2014

  • 0520 OTT mushroom provided -T -M Hidden treasure

    OTTUMWA — Yes, it's kind of like winning the lottery. A mushroom hunter and her family cheerfully acknowledged that feeling after stopping by the Ottumwa Courier on Monday. In one lucky search, they'd found hundreds of morels totaling 10 pounds. As u

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National