Man pleads not guilty in death of wife over 40 years ago

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STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV)

Man pleads not guilty in death of wife over 40 years ago

FRIDAY, April 19th 8:00 p.m.

Richard Pierce, the man who allegedly killed his wife 40 years ago has pleaded not guilty in Door County court.

He will be back in court May 31st for a status hearing. 

Man Charged in Death of Wife 40 Years Ago Bound Over for Trial

A Michigan man is in court for his preliminary hearing after being charged with first-degree murder.

Richard Pierce was arrested in October in Cheyboygan, Michigan for the murder of his wife Carol Jean Pierce.

The two lived in a trailer home in Sturgeon Bay at the time of Carol Jean’s disappearance, as Richard was stationed in Sturgeon Bay with the Coast Guard.

Carol Jean was last seen in September 1975, according to a criminal complaint, Richard returned to his ship, the USCGC Mesquite on September 6th after a night at home. He reportedly told his associates that his wife had “taken off.”

In a lengthy Preliminary Hearing Wednesday, the state argued that several inconsistencies with Richard’s story were noticed by friends and family at the time, like Carol Jean’s purse and personal belongings still being in the residence after Richard said she had left him.

Pierce’s defense team argued that without a body, the state cannot prove that Carol Jean is dead.

The state called two witnesses during the hearing, the first being retired Lt. Thomas Baudhuin of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department. 

Ultimately, Judge D. Todd Elhers ruled that the state did present enough evidence and that the case will move forward to trial.

Pierce is due in court on March 25 for his Arraignment.

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