- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - A trial is underway in the case of a Laramie man charged with raping and killing a 20-year-old woman nearly 43 years ago.

Lance David Bean was arrested in August and is charged with first-degree murder in the April 1972 death of Sharon Reher.

Albany County prosecutor Peggy Trent told jurors Monday that the evidence indicates Reher was murdered during a rape. Trent said that Bean’s DNA was found on Reher’s clothing, including her undergarments.

“But for the advancements of science, Lance Bean - now 61 years of age - would not have been discovered,” Trent said, before asking jurors to find Bean “guilty of the murder and rape of Sharon Reher.”

During an August preliminary hearing, documents submitted by Laramie Police Detective Joel Senior said Bean was a guest at a party hosted by Reher the night before the killing, the Laramie Boomerang reported.

Senior said that at the time, police took hair and other samples from Bean and other party guests, but DNA wasn’t tested.

Those samples were recently tested, leading investigators to implicate Bean in the crime, according to Senior’s affidavit.

Senior testified in August that Reher apparently had been raped. A throat wound was the cause of death, he said.

Defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer told jurors Monday the evidence would show Bean was at the party but did not prove that he raped or killed her.

Guests at Reher’s party were playing a game in which they put blankets over peoples’ heads and removed an article of clothing, Neubauer said. He suggested the DNA submitted as evidence could have sloughed off from the blankets.

In earlier hearings, Neubauer has also questioned whether officers in 1972 would have properly protected evidence for DNA testing since that technology did not yet exist.

Neubauer has said Bean will testify in his defense.

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