SKOWHEGAN — A 55-year-old man charged with murdering a young woman more than three decades ago in a small central Maine town is due in court.

Jay Mercier of Industry makes his initial court appearance today in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan. He was charged last week in the death of 20-year-old Rita St. Peter, whose battered body was found near the side of a road in Anson on July 5, 1980.

Maine State Police said St. Peter had been drinking in a bar in Madison the night before her body was discovered and was last seen crossing a bridge from Madison to Anson.

Police have declined to specify what type of evidence pointed toward Mercier. Police say it is the oldest murder case in Maine in which an arrest has been made.

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