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1974 farmhouse slaying: Deadlock over murder trial involving 17-year-old's death

Mallet used by a judge in a court case
Mallet used by a judge in a court case
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A 1974 farmhouse slaying case has left jurors deadlocked this week. Jurors have recently admitted to a judge that they cannot agree upon a decision when it comes to the guilt or innocence of 67-year-old Robert “Gene” Pilcher in the murder of a 17-year-old girl. 8 News Now reports this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, that Judge Richard Meadows has asked the jury this Tuesday to continue in their deliberations, despite their past disagreements.

The 1974 farmhouse slaying trial is set to continue this week, although a deadlock in the courtroom can be a long and laborious process to resolve. The jurors coming to a verdict in this major crime are at an impasse over a first-degree murder charge being set against a man accused of killing a 17-year-old girl at a small farmhouse in Iowa 40 years ago.

In light of the stalemate, Judge Richard Meadows is providing the stymied jury with additional time for deliberation. The man accused of slaying the teenage girl in 1974 is now 67-year-old Robert Pilcher. Jurors were released to go home on Tuesday night, and will be returning to discuss the case further in closed quarters by this Wednesday morning.

As cited in the press release on this 1974 farmhouse slaying court case:

“Prosecutors accuse Pilcher of fatally shooting Mary Jayne Jones at his cousin's farmhouse while his cousin was away. Authorities arrested Pilcher in 2012 after tests linked his DNA to semen stains on a blanket that was under Jones' body ... At this time, the accused man continues to maintain his innocence. He says the semen came from a previous sexual encounter, and prosecutors offered little other direct evidence linking him to the death.”

The murder case was left cold for dozens of years until new technologies — namely, the ability to better analyze DNA samples — put Pilcher in contact with the Iowa farmhouse where victim Mary Jayne Jones was found dead.