John Michael Irmer, a 68-year-old man from Oregon, has been charged with the murder and aggravated rape of a 24-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, Susan Marcia Rose, in a Boston apartment in 1979. The charges were announced by District Attorney Kevin Hayden on Monday.
Irmer voluntarily walked into the Portland FBI field office last month, confessing to meeting a red-haired woman at a Boston skating rink around Halloween in 1979. He admitted to accompanying her to 285 Beacon St., a building undergoing renovations at the time. According to the District Attorney’s office, Irmer confessed to grabbing a hammer and striking the woman on the head, resulting in her death. He then fled to New York the following day.
Rose, who also had red hair, was found murdered at the Beacon Street address on October 30, 1979. The cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt injuries to the head, including skull fractures and brain lacerations.
Investigators obtained a DNA sample from Irmer, which matched DNA samples preserved from the crime scene. Rose had moved to Boston from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and was residing on Dartmouth Street at the time of her death.
In June 1981, another man was tried for Rose’s murder but was found not guilty. “Nearly 44 years after losing her at such a young age, the family and friends of Susan Marcia Rose will finally have some answers. This was a brutal, ice-blooded murder made worse by the fact that a person was charged and tried,” said Hayden.
Judge James Coffey ordered Irmer to be held without bail. He is scheduled to return to court on October 17 for a pretrial hearing.
In addition to confessing to Rose’s murder, Irmer also admitted to committing several other murders, according to prosecutors. One of these cases, a murder in the South, is still under investigation. Irmer was previously convicted for the 1979 robbery and murder of a drug dealer in San Francisco, for which he served 30 years in prison.
“No matter how cold cases get resolved, it’s always the answers that are important for those who have lived with grief and loss and so many agonizing questions,” Hayden added.