John Oldson, 47, was convicted Friday of second-degree murder for the 1989 death of a 31-year-old Ord woman, Cathy Beard. Beard was last seen leaving the Some Place Else Tavern in Ord with Oldson, on May 31, 1989. Her skeletal remains were found three years later in a Valley County pasture.
Oldson was officially charged with Beard’s murder in January 2012.
At trial, forensic pathologist Dr. Matthias Okoye testified that a team of forensic experts examined Beard’s remains in 1992. After examination, Okoye ruled the death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head and trunk.
Okoye also said stab wounds to the rib and vertebrae would have contributed to Beard's death.
The trail began two weeks ago. More than 40 witnesses testified. After closing arguments, the jury deliberated for nearly seven hours.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said Oldson's conviction in the cold case shows that Nebraska law enforcement can be trusted to doggedly pursue justice – however long it takes.
"This conviction is a testament to that dedication and perseverance,” Bruning said. “Hopefully, this decision brings a sense of closure to those who loved her.”
Oldson faces a possible life sentence for the Class IB felony. Sentencing is set for April 1.
Assistant Attorneys General Corey O’Brien and Matt Lierman handled the case in cooperation with Valley County Attorney Glenn Clark, Bruning said.
Investigative support was provided by investigators Pat Mason and Bill Black of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Jay Morrow of the Nebraska State Patrol and Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt.