(ABC 5/WOI-TV) – OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — A judge has delayed jury selection for hours in the trial of a man charged with killing a teenage girl in an Iowa farmhouse in 1974.
Judge Richard Meadows told jurors Wednesday that he was meeting privately with prosecutors and attorneys for Robert “Gene” Pilcher to discuss unspecified “legal issues.” He ordered a pool of 35 jurors to return later Wednesday.
Pilcher is charged in the slaying of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones, who was found naked and shot in the farmhouse outside Ottumwa.
The case went unsolved for decades. Investigators arrested Pilcher after testing discovered his DNA on the sheets of the bed where Mary Jayne was found.
Pilcher’s defense claims the DNA material is from another sexual encounter he had in the home, which was owned by his cousin.