SKOWHEGAN — Two former area residents testified in court this morning that they saw murder victim Rita St. Peter and the man accused of killing her in downtown Madison about the same time on the night she died.

Daniel Moody, now living in Montana, and Katherine Chagnon, now of Maryland, said they saw St.Peter leaving a downtown bar around midnight July 4, 1980, walking toward the bridge leading to Anson.

The two also said they saw Jay Mercier, 57, of Industry driving in the same direction at the same time in his distinctive red GMC pickup truck.

St. Peter’s body was found the next morning off Campground Road in Anson.

Mercier is on trial for killing the 20-year-old St. Peter. He is accused of sexually assaulting her, beating her to death with something similar to a tire iron and then driving over her body with his pickup truck. He has pleaded not guilty.

Moody said he had been in downtown Madison to buy beer for a party outside of town when he saw Mercier coming down the side walk on Main Street near the Depot tavern. He said he then saw St. Peter coming out of the bar.

“Rita came rushing out the door; she seemed upset,” Moody said. “She didn’t stop. I don’t know what she was upset about.”

Chagnon also testified that she saw Mercier make a U-turn on Main Street near the tavern and drive toward the bridge at about the same time as St. Peter.

The trial in Somerset County Superior Court continues this afternoon.


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