Law enforcement authorities in Michigan have officially closed the chilling murder of a woman who was beaten with a metal pan before her throat was slashed at her private home 35 years ago. Patrick Wayne GilhamThe 67-year-old on Friday formally pleaded not guilty to a count of second-degree murder in the 1987 murder of Roxanne Leigh Woodpolice announced.
With an undisputed plea, the defendant does not admit or deny the underlying crime, but it has the same effect as a guilty plea.
According to a press release from the Michigan State Police, Gilham has agreed to reach an agreement with the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office, which includes a minimum sentence of 23 years in prison, that will keep Gilham behind bars until he is released. 90 years old – or, as prosecutors see it, for the rest of his life.
JUDGMENT: A South Bend man has not pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the 1987 murder of Roxanne Wood.
Patrick Wayne Gilham, 67, agreed to a minimum sentence of 23 years in prison. He was charged back in February. https://t.co/zjwrj8LDf0
– WNDU (@WNDU) March 18, 2022
“This sentence agreement effectively keeps Mr. Gilham in prison for the rest of his life. This plea will allow the family to have some closure and continue to work on healing after this tragic murder,” Berrien County Assistant District Attorney said. Jerry Vigansky was reported to say in a post-process statement.
Equal previous report According to Law & Crime, Gilham was arrested last month at his home in South Bend, Indiana, about 10 miles south of the Niles, Michigan home where Wood was killed. Police said the investigation into Wood’s death involved more than 10,000 hours of work.
Wood and her husband, Terry Wood, on February 20, 1987 went out to a bar and bowling alley. Wood is said to have left the bowling alley and returned home around midnight. Her husband followed her for about 45 minutes later, only to discover a horrifying murder scene in the couple’s kitchen.
According to law enforcement officials quoted by Grand Rapids, Mich. ABC WOOD-TV branchRoxane Wood died when her throat was slashed and her head was smashed with a frying pan. Police also said they found no signs of any kind of forced entry into Woods’ home.
Police found the sheath of a knife that investigators believe was used in the murder, but the weapon itself was never recovered even though divers searched Brandywine Creek near the crime scene for many hours.
While Wood’s husband was long thought to be the prime suspect in the murder, he steadfastly kept his innocence until investigators identified Gilham as a potential person of interest using using DNA collected from the field.
The State Police said in a press release: “Patrick Gilham was identified as a potential suspect in this murder from initial evidence left at the scene which was subjected to a forensic examination between the Identification Company and the police. International LLC and the MSP Forensic Laboratory in Grand Rapids, Michigan”.
Based on DNA found inside Wood’s home, genealogists used genome sequencing to create a genetic profile that was then uploaded to public databases like GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA. , according to WOOD-TV report. Analysts are said to have built a family tree for a then-unknown DNA profile based on shared matches and identified common ancestry, which eventually led police to Gilham .
“After being identified as a possible suspect, Gilham was investigated extensively by MSP’s undercover units and interviewed twice separately by detective sergeants Moore, Bailey, and Kyle Gorhamculminating in his arrest for public murder in South Bend, Indiana on an arrest warrant issued by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office,” police said.
According to WOOD-TV, in June 2021, detectives collected a cigarette butt that Gilham had thrown away and collected a sample of his DNA. Tests reportedly confirmed that the sample matched DNA collected from Wood’s murder scene.
The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office and the Michigan State Police did not immediately respond to messages from Law & Crime regarding the incident.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via Michigan State Police]
Is there a trick we should know? [email protected]
https://lawandcrime.com/crime/indiana-man-agrees-to-deal-that-effectively-means-hell-die-in-prison-for-35-year-old-cold-case-murder-of-woman-whose-throat-was-slit-in-her-own-kitchen/ Patrick Wayne Gilham found guilty of murdering Roxanne Wood