Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Indict 2 Men for 1971 Crime Task Force Tackles Unsolved Cases

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Indict 2 Men for 1971 Crime Task Force Tackles Unsolved Cases

Article excerpt

Sgt. David Hayes was 11 years old when his great-grandfather was murdered in Alton in 1971.

Hayes' experience later as a police detective left him afraid he would retire with the case unsolved.

Not anymore.

An investigation by a special task force that re-opened the case has led to indictments against two men whom police said were very surprised Tuesday when they were arrested.

"I almost consider this a personal favor," Hayes said at a news conference at Alton City Hall Wednesday when the indictments were announced.

The victim, Dr. Louis H. Hayes, was 85 when he was fatally beaten in his home in what police believed was an interrupted burglary. That was borne out by the new investigation by the Homicide-Violent Crimes Task Force of Madison/St. Clair Counties, police said.

Indicted on charges of first-degree murder were Walter F. Gleason, 46, of Cottage Hills, and Robert D. McNear, 51, of Alton. Police said a third man who would have been charged died of natural causes in Springfield, Ill., in 1991. His identity was not released. The time elapsed since the crime occurred had no bearing on the charges because in Illinois has no statute of limitations on murder.

Capt. Wayne Watson, district commander of the Illinois State Police at Collinsville, said McNear's arrest Tuesday added another twist. He was arrested at a tavern where police said he and the other men hatched their plan the night they broke into Louis Hayes' house. Watson refused to identify the tavern.

Gleason and McNear were held under bonds of $500,000.

Watson described the suspects as "the type of people you would think of who would do this type of crime . . . who could walk in and hit an 85-year-old man and not have any remorse."

McNear served two prison terms - eight years for theft, burglary and attempted arson in Madison County in 1981 and two years for burglary in Jersey County in 1990. …

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