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(Ottumwa)— A number of witnesses were called to testify Thursday morning in the first degree murder trail of Robert Eugene Pilcher.

Among those to give testimony was Max Marlin owner of the farm house in Blakesburg where Mary Jane Jones was beaten and shot to death on April 9th of 1974.  Marlin said he spoke to Pilcher on occasion and said Pilcher came out to the house from time to time. On April 5th Marlin said he went on a trip to California.  He said he traded cars with Pilcher because his car………..a 1974 Ford Thunderbird was having trouble.  Marlin told the jury the trip was cut short because he was notified of a murder at his house.  He said his mother found the body of Mary Jane in the bedroom. He said it first his mother first thought what she saw was a manikin in the bed.

During questioning., on numerous times, Marlin said it was hard to remember things from 40 years ago.   He said Pilcher once said that he wouldn’t mind dating a girl that worked at Henry’s Drive- In on Church Street where Mary Jane worked.

Prosecution attorney Denise Timmims also questioned Marlin about shotguns he had at the house.  He said he took good care of the guns.  He identified a 2-22 Remington rifle that was in his bedroom.  However he was not able to identify pieces of a gun as his.

Marlin was still on the witness stand prior to the noon hour.