By Debbie Burke
On October 30, 1979, a red-haired 24-year-old woman named Susan Marcia Rose was murdered in a building under renovation on Beacon Street in Boston. Earlier that night, she had been at a nearby skating rink. Cause of death: multiple blunt injuries to the head, skull fractures, and brain lacerations from a hammer. She had also been raped. Semen was collected at the crime scene and preserved.
In 1981, a man was tried for her murder and found not guilty.
Rose’s case remained cold for 44 years.
In August 2023, John Michael Irmer, 68, walked into an FBI office in Portland, Oregon, and reportedly confessed to killing several people, including a red-haired woman he’d met at a skating rink sometime around Halloween, 1979.
He further stated he had earlier been in prison for killing a drug dealer in San Francisco. At that time, his DNA was entered in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that is accessible to all law enforcement agencies. When Irmer was released in 2012, he expressed surprise that the Boston police weren’t waiting to pick him up.
After his confession to the Portland FBI, Irmer was transported to Boston. On September 11, 2023 he was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court for murder and aggravated rape. He’s being held without bond.