No bail for man charged in ‘ice-blooded’ murder, rape of woman in 1979 in Boston’s Back Bay

BOSTON — A man charged in connection with the “brutal, ice-blooded” murder and rape of a woman in 1979 in Boston’s Back Bay has been ordered held without bail.

John Michael Irmer, 68, of Portland, Oregon, was arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court on charges of murder and aggravated rape in the Oct. 30, 1979, death of 24-year-old Susan Marcia Rose, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.

Law enforcement officials say Irmer walked into the Portland FBI field office last month and confessed to killing Rose with a hammer.

On that night, Irmer said he met a red-haired woman, Rose, at a skating rink and walked her into 285 Beacon Street, which was being renovated. He allegedly said that shortly after entering the building, he grabbed a hammer and struck Rose in the head, killing her, before fleeing to New York the following day.

A man was previously tried and found not guilty of Rose’s murder in June 1981.

FBI agents in Portland and members of the Boston Police Homicide Unit were able to verify that Rose was found murdered at 285 Beacon Street on October 30, 1979, from multiple blunt injuries of the head with fractures of the skull and lacerations of the brain. DNA samples from Irmer also proved to be a match with DNA samples preserved from the murder scene, according to police.

“This was a brutal, ice-blooded murder made worse by the fact that a person was charged and tried—and fortunately, found not guilty—while the real murderer remained silent until now,” Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said. “Nearly 44 years after losing her at such a young age, the family and friends of Susan Marcia Rose will finally have some answers.”

Rose had moved to Boston from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and was living on Dartmouth Street at the time of her death.

Irmer is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 17.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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