New Trial Date Set For Accused Murderer Of 14-Year-Old Wendy Jerome

Back in 1984, a 14-year-old was murdered while walking to her friend’s house to deliver a birthday card. Now, after nearly 40 years, her alleged murderer was identified through DNA and faces trial.

January 02, 2024
Wendy Jerome, 14, pictured here, went missing on Thanksgiving Day 1984. Now, in 2024, Timothy Williams faces trial for her murder.

Back in 1984, a 14-year-old was murdered while walking to her friend’s house to deliver a birthday card. Now, after nearly 40 years, her alleged murderer was identified through DNA and faces trial.

Photo by: Upstate New York Missing Persons

Upstate New York Missing Persons

A new trial date has been scheduled for Timothy Williams, now 59, who is accused of raping and murdering a young teen named Wendy Jerome nearly 40 years ago. He went to trial in November 2023, but it ended in a mistrial thanks to “jury misconduct,” reported 13WHAM. No time was wasted in pursuing a new trial or the gruesome murder.

Back on Thanksgiving 1984, the body of 14-year-old Wendy Jerome was found shortly after her family reported her missing. She had been brutally raped and murdered, then her body was left behind a school in Rochester, New York.

Jerome had made a Thanksgiving meal with her dad, Wayne Jerome, because her mom was tired and napping after working a nursing shift earlier that morning. Wendy asked her dad if she could visit a friend, Susan Kellar, to bring her a birthday card, and he agreed.

"She left about 7 p.m. and she had a curfew, 8 p.m.," Marlene Jerome, Wendy’s mother, told Democrat & Chronicle. "About 8 p.m. I woke up and came running down the stairs: 'Where's Wendy?' I knew something was wrong."

Wayne tried to console his wife and assure her their daughter would return home from visiting the friend soon. They tried to call the Kellar family, but they couldn’t get in touch with them for hours. When they finally did, the family advised them to call the police.

Not long after that, the police arrived with the tragic news that Jerome’s body had been found badly beaten and murdered. The family was left devastated, but justice would elude them for many years. Despite an extensive investigation and the family’s relentless pursuit of justice, the case eventually went cold.

Over the years, police continued to work diligently on the case. In 2020, a familial DNA hit finally identified Williams as a suspect, reported CNN, and his connection to the murder was confirmed with an additional DNA sample.

Once the police felt confident in the identification and evidence, Timothy Williams, who would have been 20 years old at the time of Jerome’s murder in 1984, was arrested in 2020 at his Melbourne, Florida home.

The first trial began in November 2023 and was much anticipated. However, it ended quickly in a mistrial because of jury misconduct. Wendy’s family was devastated. Reporter Jackie Napier revealed on X that the judge was visibly upset with the jury. Judge Moran told the jury, “You did exactly what I told you not to do… you don’t pay attention to what the hell I tell you.”

Despite the setback, the prosecutor and Jerome’s family are dedicated to continuing to fight for justice for the young girl. The statute of limitations on the rape expired, so he cannot be charged in that crime, but he is being charged with three counts of murder in the second degree, according to District Attorney Sandra Doorley.

Doorley told 13WHAM that the new trial will "start from scratch." Several witnesses traveled from out of town and even out of the country, and they will likely need to return to testify. The new trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Feb. 27, 2024.

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