WAUSEON, OH (Toledo News Now) - Jury selection is underway and the trial set to begin in the case of a Swanton teen murdered nearly 30 years ago. The fate of the case had been up in the air until just last year.
The defendant, Walter Zimbeck, 45, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., was in court as attorneys on both sides questioned potential jurors Monday. All this, nearly three decades after the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Lori Ann Hill.
Lori Ann, who was 14 at the time, went missing in October of 1985 after she left a Halloween party in Swanton. Her naked body was found by a deer hunter in the woods in Swanton the next day.
The coroner determined she was beaten to death.
The case was cold until 2008, when Lori Ann's ex-boyfriend, Zimbeck, became a suspect.
Zimbeck was indicted for murder in 2009, but a Fulton County judge dropped the charges a year later, citing a lack of physical evidence and the time lapse. Prosecutors appealed the decision and won.
Now, Zimbeck is back on trial, facing charges of murder and aggravated murder. The Ohio Supreme Court has appointed a visiting judge to hear the case.
It is a trial people in the small town of Wauseon are paying close attention to, including one woman who lives near where the body was found.
"It was scary. It was scary because we didn't know who did it, and it worried me because they never found who did it, so I would be glad if it would come to a conclusion," said Margie Lumbrezer.
The jury is expected to be seated by the end of Monday. Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday morning.
Attorneys on both sides declined to comment.