Man walks into FBI office to confess to rape and murder over 40 years ago

‘Brutal, ice-blooded murder’ case was solved forty years after as killer gave himself up to the FBI

Amelia Neath
Tuesday 12 September 2023 14:10 BST
<p>Ex-convict John Irmer, 68, turns himself in again after confessing to the rape and murder of Susan Marcia Rose</p>

Ex-convict John Irmer, 68, turns himself in again after confessing to the rape and murder of Susan Marcia Rose

A man has been arrested after walking into an FBI office and confessing to the rape and murder of a woman more than four decades ago.

John Irmer, 68, from Oregon, went to the FBI office in Portland in August and told agents that he raped and killed a woman with red hair in Boston around Halloween in 1979, prosecutors said.

He said that he met the woman at a skating rink and walked with her to an apartment at 285 Beacon Street, which was under renovation at the time. Mr Irmer allegedly picked up a hammer and struck the woman, killing her. He then proceeded to rape her after her death.

The woman is believed to have been Susan Marcia Rose, 24, who was killed on 30 October 1979 in Boston’s Back Bay neighbourhood, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said on Monday. The cause of her death was deemed as blunt injuries on her head, skull fractures and lacerations of the brain.

"There was blood spatter and brain matter found about halfway up the stairs from the first floor to the second floor..." said a police report from the time. "Rose was then dragged up the stairs to the second floor where her partially nude body was found."

Mr Irnmer claims that after the murder of Rose, he left Boston and moved to New York.

A different man was arrested and stood trial for the murder, but was acquitted in 1981, prosecutors said.

A DNA sample was taken from Mr Irmer to confirm the match to DNA samples taken from the crime scene back in 1979.

Susan Marcia Rose was found dead in an apartment on a construction site in 1979

"This was a brutal, ice-blooded murder made worse by the fact that a person was charged and tried -- and fortunately, found not guilty -- while the real murderer remained silent until now," Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement.

Mr Irmer has other brutal convictions in his past, after serving 30 years in prison for homicide, according to CBS News. He had been free for 10 years before deciding to give himself up to the FBI.

A police report said: "Irmer stated that when he was released from prison in 2012, he was surprised that the Boston police weren’t waiting for him because he knew that his DNA was taken and submitted to CODIS [the nationwide DNA system for cold cases] while in prison."

Rose moved to Boston from Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was living on a nearby street at the time of her murder.

"Nearly 44 years after losing her at such a young age, the family and friends of Susan Marcia Rose will finally have some answers," Attorney Hayden said.

Mr Irmer is being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and rape. He is due to appear in court on 17 October.

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