Man Pleads Not Guilty to 1974 Killing

(NECN: Mike Cronin) - It has been 40 years since the death of Eileen Ferro. Monday, 69-year-old Lonzo Guthrie pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. Prosecutors say he killed Ferro in her Shrewsbury, Mass. home.

"Absolutely, he denies it," said defense attorney John Roemar.

Guthrie was living in Worcester at the time of the murder. Prosecutors say he delivered furniture to Ferro's home the day before stabbing her in 1974. Guthrie was questioned, but never charged.

The case went cold until authorities say blood from the scene was recently tested and DNA was matched to Guthrie.

"Well, it's my first 40-year-old DNA case," said Roemar.

Roemar has a lot of questions for prosecutors.

"The DNA will tell you what's there, but it won't tell you how it got there," he said.

Guthrie is a registered sex offender and convicted rapist. He was required to submit a DNA sample after violating his parole. That's when investigators with the Worcester County District Attorney's Office found a match after his arrest three months ago in Georgia.

District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said his office found a match after submitting evidence for testing.

"Eileen Ferro, 21 years old at the time, was found in a spare bedroom, lying face up - what only can be described as a horrific murder scene," said Early.

Ferro's family was in court, but didn't make any comment. Ferro and her husband lived on Ladyslipper Drive in Shrewsbury, where longtime residents still remember her.

"We found out about it about 10 o'clock at night when a state trooper knocked on our door," said Ray Cote.

Guthrie is being held without bail. He'll be back in court next month. His attorney says he wants to know more about the evidence and DNA testing.

"We don't know exactly how this was gathered, and what problems with contamination might exist," said Roemar.

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