Partial mistrial for Steve Pankey; no verdict on murder, kidnapping charges

Local News

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A jury was only able to agree to a verdict on one count against Steve Pankey, the man accused of killing 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews. The verdict was announced Thursday morning in Weld District Court.

No verdict was returned on the charges of murder after deliberation, felony murder, and kidnapping with a weapon. Pankey was found guilty on one charge of false reporting to authorities.

A hearing will be held Monday on sentencing and bond. The potential to refile charges 1-3 will also be discussed.

Matthews disappeared from her home in Greeley on Dec. 20, 1984. Her remains were found in July 2019 at a construction site several miles away from the home.

Pankey was arrested about a year later on Oct. 13, 2020.

During closings, the state painted Pankey as a master manipulator while the defense argued he lives in a world of fantasy and paranoia but he’s not a murderer. 

“In Steve’s mind, Mr. Pankey’s mind, he lives in a world of conspiracy paranoia and low self-esteem,” said defense attorney Anthony Viorst.

“He’s not someone who has a mental health disorder, he is a master manipulator,” prosecuting attorney Robb Miller said. “This narcissist is saying the state won’t be able to solve Jonelle Matthews’ disappearance without his help.”

This story will be updated shortly as we learn more details.

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