By Associated Press - Friday, March 19, 2021

PEMBROKE, Mass. (AP) - Authorities in Massachusetts say they now know who killed a Pembroke woman in 1984, although the motive for the slaying remains unclear.

Investigators acting on a tip determined through DNA evidence that Jesse Aylward killed Virginia Hannon, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said at a news conference on Thursday.

Hannon, a 59-year-old widow who lived alone, was found on her bed in her home on Feb. 12, 1984. She had been kicked, punched, stabbed and strangled, and her body covered in a sheet.

Aylward, who lived in Brockton, died last year at age 58. A day after he died, a friend called police to say that Aylward had confessed to a Pembroke killing some time earlier. The tipster is not facing charges.

Police obtained a DNA sample from Aylward’s body and matched it DNA evidence on broken glass, stockings and bloody paper towels found at the scene in 1984, Cruz said.

Why Aylward killed Hannon may never be known. There was no known connection between the two.

“There are still a lot of questions we would like to answer,” former Pembroke Police Chief Rick Wall said. “We may never get all of the answers, but we’re never going to stop looking for exactly what happened.”

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