Second man accused of 1996 murder to stand trial
Jason Ryan, the second man accused in the murder and sexual assault of an elderly Kalkaska woman in 1996 will stand trial.
Several people presented evidence in the case on Monday afternoon in a Kalkaska County courtroom. Prosecutors say the evidence being presented point to Ryan as the man responsible for the death of 69-year-old Geraldine Montgomery.
Ryan was charged in December for one count of homicide open murder, one count of homicide felony murder, and one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct.
The courtroom heard testimony from several forensic specialists. The doctor who performed the autopsy on Montgomery, Stephen Cohle, said he found scrapes and bruising all over her body and evidence consistent with a sexual assault.
A Michigan State Police forensic biologist testified that DNA evidence found was a match to Ryan.
"We provide three estimates based on the population database so for Caucasians the probability of finding an unrelated individual matching that profile was 1 in 197.4 quadrillion," said Ann Hunt. "For African Americans it's 1 in 159.8 quintillion and Hispanics 1 in 1.61 quintillion."
Montgomery was found dead in the trunk of her car at her home on October 6,1996. Cohle said the cause of death was carbon monoxide toxicity, and that the manner of her death was homicide.
Jamie Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of Montgomery in 1998 admitted to the crime and had information that police say only someone at the scene should know. He is serving a life sentence at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee.
Police said evidence at the time of Peterson's trial indicated that there were multiple subjects involved in the crime. In May, a team of detectives was assembled to re-examine the cold case.
Detectives said through the use of new technology, a DNA profile was obtained that led to the identification and arrest of Ryan.