WELD COUNTY, Colo. — A jury began deliberations Tuesday in the trial for Steven Pankey, the man accused of killing 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews in Weld County in December 1984.
The jury was handed the case around noon and finished deliberations for the day after both sides presented their closing arguments in a Weld County courtroom. They're scheduled to resume deliberations Wednesday.
Matthews was last seen alive on Dec. 20, 1984. Pankey was a neighbor of the 12-year-old and her family at the time.
She was deemed missing for more than 30 years until her body was found in 2019 at an oil and gas site in Greeley.
The Greeley Police Department confirmed in September 2019 Pankey was a person of interest. A Weld County grand jury indicted Pankey in October 2020 on three murder charges including first-degree murder. Two other charges of violence were also added to his case.
During the trial, witnesses testified that Pankey appeared obsessed with the case. Evidence presented included statements Pankey made in church, internet searches he made about Williams and statements he made to law enforcement.
Pankey testified during the trial that he pretended to know information about the case out of bitterness for police and for his former church and employer.
Pankey’s murder trial began Oct. 6.
It’s unclear how long deliberations will last before a decision is made.