An 82-year old Michigan man, charged with first degree murder and disinterment of the dead in a case that goes back 43 years, waived the time limits for a preliminary hearing in Door County Circuit Court Tuesday. Judge D. Todd Ehlers is presiding at the case of Richard Gale Pierce of Cheboygan, Michigan. Attorney Kate Rush Zuidmulder is handling the defense and Nicholas Grode appeared for the State of Wisconsin. During the court hearing, Zuidmulder requested that Pierce’s one million dollar cash bond be converted to a signature bond. Grode objected. Judge Ehlers refused to sanction the requested change, but cut the bail in half. The judge also agreed to schedule a status hearing for December 3rd. Pierce remains in the Door County Jail.
He is accused of killing his wife, 35-year old Carol Jean Pierce, in September of 1975. Pierce admitted having been with his wife on the morning she disappeared, but indicated that it was she who left him. He was arrested late last month and brought back to Sturgeon Bay to stand trial. On at least two occasions, authorities from Wisconsin and Michigan excavated property owned by Pierce in Michigan, but no remains were found. Investigators say pierce had the means and opportunity to kill his wife and the most to gain by his her disappearance.