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Hartland man charged in 25-year-old cold case murder

A Livingston County man is jailed after being charged in a 25-year-old cold case murder.

John Germain – St. Clair County Jail photo

John A. Germain of Hartland Township was arrested by Michigan State Police troopers at his home on August 2 and charged with the murder of 79-year-old Virginia Cecelia Farrel, who was beaten and stabbed to death inside her Clay Township home in May of 1997.

St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael D. Wendling’s office credited the “diligence of investigators and utilization of scientific advancements, including those used by the MSP Forensic Science Laboratories,” in identifying Germain as the killer.

Germain, 54, was arraigned in Port Huron on charges of open murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and breaking and entering.

MLive.com reports that in 2007, an MSP cold case investigation reopened the cold case and made requests for additional lab exams of evidence taken from the crime scene. A DNA profile was developed through the lab tests, although no suspects were identified.

Then in 2019, a second MSP cold case investigation with further scientific evaluations of the DNA evidence which was then submitted to the Combined DNA Index System. That turned up Germain, who is set for a probable cause conference Aug. 17.

He remains jailed on a $1 million bond.

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