Four-week jury trial scheduled for man charged in 1975 murder

DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A four-week jury trial has been scheduled for a man charged in the 1975 murder of his wife in Sturgeon Bay.

Richard G. Pierce, 83, is charged with 1st Degree Murder for the death of Carol Jean Pierce.

On Oct. 9, Pierce appeared in Door County Court. The judge scheduled the four-week jury trial to begin on Aug. 4, 2020.

Rulings on evidence allowed at trial will be held in the coming months.

The court also amended bond. At the state's request, the $500,000 cash bond was adjusted to a $500,000 signature bond. A signature bond does not require a cash deposit. A defendant must sign a promise to return to court. At issue--Pierce's medical issues and the cost to the county to treat him while in jail.

Pierce's attorney says her client has nowhere else to go and would like to continue receiving the treatment "that is in place."

Pierce's former wife Carol Jean disappeared from Sturgeon Bay in 1975.

A criminal complaint states Richard Pierce had "gained numerous things based on Carol Jean's disappearance, which included a pension unencumbered by a wife; most of the important belongings of their marriage; land and a home in Michigan; a new girlfriend weeks after Carol Jean's disappearance, as well as the benefit of Carol Jean's silence."

Police say Pierce moved to Cheboygan, Mich., from Sturgeon Bay and had a new girlfriend shortly after his wife disappeared. A missing persons report for Carol Jean wasn't filed for 82 days.

Carol Jean Pierce's remains were never found.

On Sept. 21, 2018, the Wisconsin Cold Case Review Team looked at the case and concluded there was enough to show Richard Pierce was set to gain from Carol Jean's disappearance.

Investigators from Sturgeon Bay and Michigan spent weeks searching Richard Pierce's property in Michigan, looking for possible evidence related to the Carol Jean Pierce disappearance. They have not released the details of their findings.

Action 2 News will continue to update this developing story.