DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – A Michigan man accused of killing his wife while in Wisconsin back in 1975 began trial on Tuesday.
86-year-old Richard Pierce is being charged with first-degree murder and disinterment of the dead after his wife, Carol Jean Pierce, went missing and was never found. He pleaded not guilty back in 2019.
At the time of her disappearance, the Pierce’s lived in Sturgeon Bay while Richard was stationed with the Coast Guard.
At the trial Tuesday, the prosecution keyed in on the inconsistency of Richard Pierce’s story. They also highlighted that it took Pierce more than 80 days to report his wife missing.
“He tells Mr. Reid Carol Jean took off and took 20 thousand dollars, but the defendant doesn’t stick to that story. On September 15th, he tells the Sturgeon Bay Police she left on September 8th and only took one thousand dollars in cash they were saving,” said Door County Assistant District Attorney, Nicholas Grode.
Carol Jean’s brother also took the stand, verifying various letters his sister sent to the family. She had written extensively about her and Richard’s plans to retire in northern Michigan.
Fellow shipmates and friends have said that although Carol Jean was talking about retiring in northern Michigan, Richard was speaking about their marriage being shakey.
There was a hit by a cadaver dog in a crawl space at Richard’s home in Michigan, but no remains were found.
“It was a story, it was not evidence, it was to me, speculation. But you are the ones who will judge the evidence. You are the ones who will judge the witnesses,” said Pierce’s Defense Attorney, Kate Zuidmulder.
The trial is expected to take just over two weeks and Local 5 will continue to provide updates as this progresses forward.