Convicted murderer indicted in woman’s 1972 cold case death

February 16, 2018

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) — A convicted murderer has been indicted for the Dec. 28, 1972 slaying of a woman in West Virginia, authorities said.

This week, a Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment in the death of Mary Osborne, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported Friday. A latent fingerprint lifted from a wash basin’s spigot handle was identified and traced to Tommy Lee Mollohan, Bluefield police Sgt. Kenny Adams wrote in a criminal complaint prior to the indictment.

Osborne’s body had been discovered at her church by a pastor who called police. Detective Sgt. Jim Dent had found her lying face down in a pool of blood, Adams said in the complaint. Dent determined Osborne was assaulted just after entering the church while she was still at a light switch.

Dent surmised Osborne’s body was dragged down a hallway to the Sunday school classroom where it was found, Adams said. Investigators discovered a hammer at the scene that was later determined to be the weapon used in the killing. Dent suspected the killer had washed the hammer and possibly himself in the men’s restroom to remove blood and other evidence. The fingerprint traced to Mollohan had been taken from the restroom.

Mollahan was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and breaking and entering, County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler confirmed. It is rare that such a development is made in crime more than four decades old, said Sitler, who was age 5 when the crime happened.

Mollohan had been an escaped fugitive when he broke into the church, and Osborne had presumably walked in on him committing a burglary, Adams said. Mollohan fled the scene and traveled to Kanawha County, where he was later arrested and convicted of a murder committed there on Jan. 13, 1973, Adams said.

Mollohan is serving time in a West Virginia prison. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.


Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com

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