Prosecutors believe that they have solved the 25-year-old murder case of Marilyn Dods (GSB ’81), charging an Illinois prison inmate last week with the crime.

Clarence Trotter, a 48-year-old man serving a life sentence for a 1986 murder, now stands accused of killing Dods in her Chicago apartment on Sept. 20, 1981, according to Tandra Simonton, a spokesperson for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.

Crime scene investigators extracted DNA samples from evidence gathered at the crime scene and matched the samples with Trotter’s DNA through a computer database, Simonton said.

“The most important thing to me is to realize that he has not been out hurting people for the last 25 years; that really made me feel good,” Chris Dods, the victim’s brother, told The Chicago Tribune.

Dods, who was 21 at the time of her death and graduated from Georgetown just months earlier, had recently moved into an apartment in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. She was to begin working at Northern Trust Bank about a week after the murder. She was last seen at 9 a.m. on the day she died, when her boyfriend left her apartment, Simonton said.

According to Simonton, Marilyn Dods had said that she planned to go to church and meet him at his apartment. When she did not arrive, Dods’ boyfriend went to her apartment and found her body lying in a bathtub full of water, Simonton said. Her hands were tied behind her back, and a sock was stuffed in her mouth. Her neck bore marks and a blue handkerchief was tied around it. She was wearing a bathrobe and underwear.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that she had died of drowning and suffocation. Wet boxer shorts and semen were recovered from the scene, and it appeared Dods had been raped, Simonton said.

Trotter was charged Thursday with first-degree murder. He is due to appear in court on Feb. 14, when he could face additional charges, according to Simonton, although she declined to comment on what those charges may be.

“I had pretty much given up hope that anything was going to happen,” Chris Dods told the Tribune. “I just figured it was another one for the bad guys.”

Trotter could face the death penalty if convicted. Simonton said prosecutors have not yet decided whether to pursue that option.

Trotter was a convicted felon on parole for a 1978 burglary at the time of Marilyn Dods’ murder. He has also been convicted of the 1986 rape and murder of Betty Howard.

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