Cold Case Murder Trial Begins In Albany County District Court
The trial began today for a murder committed in Laramie more than 42 years ago.
Lance David Bean, 61, stands accused of the murder and possible sexual assault of 20-year-old Sharon Reher. According to court documents, Reher’s body was found on April 17, 1972 in her bedroom. It appeared she had been sexually assaulted and strangled before her throat was slashed.
Bean faces three alternative charges of Murder in the First Degree. The first alternative is that Bean allegedly committed murder in the first degree during the commission of a rape. The second alternative charge is that Bean allegedly committed murder in the first degree in the attempted commission of a rape. The third alternative charge is that he allegedly committed murder in the first degree with premeditated malice.
Peggy Trent, Albany County and Prosecuting Attorney, told the jury in her opening statement that several people will provide testimony as evidence of Bean’s guilt. She said that Reher’s brother, who found the body, will testify. In addition several friends of Reher’s will stand as witnesses, including at least one friend who was at a party hosted by Reher that took place shortly before the murder.
Trent went on to say detectives who first investigated the murder will testify, indicating that Bean was a suspect of the murder during that initial investigation. In addition, Trent says a witness from the Wyoming Crime Lab will testify as to the presence of Bean’s touch DNA on Reher’s clothing.
Trent said the evidence presented will prove the jury of Bean’s guilt.
Defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer told the jury that the evidence will not prove that Bean is guilty of any crime.
“At most, the evidence in this case will show that Lance Bean had some level of contact with Sharon Reher,” said Neubauer.
He said that Bean had been present at a party the night Reher was likely killed, but said Bean did not kill or rape Reher. He indicated that DNA may have been transferred from other items in Reher’s home, saying a game played at the party involved placing a blanket over Bean’s head. He said the blankets used in the game could have transferred Bean’s DNA onto Reher’s clothes.
Neubauer urged the jury to seriously consider how many opportunities were present for Bean’s DNA to get on Reher and her clothing.
Neubauer said that Bean will testify during the trial.
The trial is scheduled to end on Friday.
If convicted of any of the alternative charges, Bean faces up to life imprisonment, which was the maximum penalty for First Degree murder when the crime was committed.