When 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones was discovered raped, assaulted, and shot to death in an abandoned farmhouse outside Blakesburg, the state of Iowa was stunned into silence. Despite having a suspect list, the evidence acquired from the crime site was inconclusive, causing the case to languish for years. ‘Betrayed: Crime on the Menu,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, examines the terrible murder and the investigation that attempted to bring the murderer to justice. Let’s delve a little deeper into the details and figure out where Mary’s killer is right now.
How Did Mary Jayne Jones Die?
Mary Jayne Jones, 17, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, just a few months before she was murdered. Despite the fact that she was new to town, Mary was fast to make friends and had quickly established herself as a prominent figure in the neighbourhood. She got a job waiting tables and had big plans for her future. She was described as a sweet, energetic, and kindhearted girl. Her hopes, however, were destroyed when her life was stolen away by a heinous crime of rage.
On April 9, 1974, authorities were alerted to the discovery of a body in an abandoned farmhouse in Blakesburg, Iowa. When first responders arrived, they discovered Mary Jayne Jones dead and fully clothed on a bed. A blood-soaked blanket was also found a short distance away from the body. The woman was shot to death, but a closer medical examination revealed that she had been raped and beaten viciously before her death. Mary was also killed by a bullet fired from a high-powered weapon at close range, according to the autopsy.
Who Killed Mary Jayne Jones?
The investigation into Mary Jones’ death was delayed at first because authorities had few leads to work with. Despite sitting through multiple interviews and compiling a suspect list, the majority of them had valid alibis that ruled them out of the crime. The farmhouse where Mary’s body was discovered belonged to a man named Max Marlin, and police suspected that Max’s cousin was involved in the murder.
According to the show, Max’s cousin, Robert “Gene” Pilcher, made unwanted moves toward Mary, who declined his date request. This provided him with a reason and means for the murder, however linking him to Mary’s death was difficult. The evidence obtained from the crime site, on the other hand, was inconclusive and did not point to a person of interest.
As a result of the lack of progress, the case was put on hold until it was reopened in 2010. Investigators employed DNA fingerprinting to extract a foreign DNA sample from the bleeding blanket before matching it to the police database, determined to find a solution. Surprisingly, they got an instant match and were taken aback to learn that the DNA belonged to their first suspect, Robert Gene Pilcher. Law enforcement agents were ultimately able to arrest and charge Pilcher with Mary’s murder because to fresh forensic evidence linking him to the crime.
Where Is Robert “Gene” Pilcher Now?
Pilcher made his first appearance in court in January 2014. The jury, however, was unable to reach a unanimous decision, and the judge declared the case a mistrial. Robert “Gene” Pilcher pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to ten years in prison during the ensuing trial in September 2014. Furthermore, the judge gave him two years credit for time previously served. Pilcher was in prison until 2017 and on probation until 2020, according to his criminal records. Pilcher has remained under the spotlight since then, preferring seclusion. However, it looks that he is still residing in Iowa at this time.