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Man charged 25 years after St. Clair County slaying

A man has been charged in connection with a 25-year-old slaying in St. Clair County, authorities announced Friday.

John Germain, 54, of Hartland was arrested Tuesday by Michigan State Police at his home, the St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

He was arraigned the next day through the 72nd District Court in Port Huron on charges of open murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as breaking and entering, records show.

Judge Michael Hulewicz set bond at $1 million. A probable cause conference is scheduled for Aug. 17.

Germain's arrest resulted from a lengthy investigation into the death of Virginia Cecelia Farrell in May 1997. The 79-year-old was found beaten and stabbed to death in her Clay Township home, prosecutors said Friday.

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"Though investigators completed a thorough investigation, a viable suspect was not developed and the case went cold," officials wrote. "In 2007, an MSP cold case investigation was initiated and included requests for additional laboratory examinations of evidence.  Although a DNA profile was developed, no suspects were identified."

A second MSP cold case investigation launched in 2019. Through scientific and technological advances, DNA evidence collected from the crime scene was re-evaluated, and the results submitted to the federal Combined DNA Index System, authorities reported.  

“The diligence of investigators and utilization of scientific advancements, including those used by the MSP Forensic Science Laboratories, were integral to the identification of Virginia Farrell’s killer,” Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Smith Deegan said in a statement.   

An attorney listed as representing German did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.