Prosecutors: Accused Cold Case Killer Used Boulder as Murder Weapon

A man arrested in North Carolina in connection with the murder of a 15-year-old girl in 1986 was ordered held without bail by a Massachusetts judge on Wednesday.

Michael Hand, 61, was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge last Friday at his home in Troutman, North Carolina, by state and local police.

He pleaded not guilty to murdering Tracy Gilpin, of Kingston, Massachusetts, at his arraignment in Brockton District Court on Wednesday after waiving rendition in North Carolina earlier this week. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Gilpin was reported missing on Oct. 1, 1986, by her family. Her body was found 22 days later in Myles Standish State Forest, and investigators determined she died from a massive skull fracture.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Hand, a former Kingston resident, made statements to police that put him at the crime scene and admitted to dropping a 73-pound boulder on Gilpin's head. A DNA test will be performed on the rock to determine Hand's connection to the crime.

Gilpin's sister, current Massachusetts State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin, thanked investigators Sunday for all of their hard work on the case over the past 30 years.

"For the past three decades, we have remained hopeful that Tracy's murderer would be identified. The much-welcomed news of an arrest in the case leaves us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within reach," she wrote.

Hand's arraignment in Massachusetts was initially scheduled for Plymouth District Court but had to be moved to Brockton due to power outage issues.

He is next scheduled to appear in court on April 13.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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