Wichita man found guilty in murder of 72-year-old woman


John D. Pepper

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Sedgwick County jury found a Wichita man guilty following a week-long trial in the July 2019 murder of Rita Golden, 72.   

John Pepper was convicted of murder in the first degree and aggravated sodomy. The jury reached the decision on Oct. 29. Golden had allowed Pepper to stay in her yard and occasionally come into the house, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case. Court documents say Golden’s daughter found her dead in her home, with blood on her face, hands, and shirt. Pepper was arrested after being found in a closet of Golden’s home.

The autopsy showed that Golden died as a result of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease with atrial fibrillation” but pointed to “significant conditions” including multiple blunt force injuries and possible asphyxia (smothering).” The autopsy showed that she had heart disease and emphysema but other significant conditions include “multiple blunt force injuries and possible asphyxia (smothering).” The autopsy report listed the cause of death as a homicide and said the injuries she sustained “would have resulted in severe physical and/or emotional stress” leading to her death.

Pepper’s sentencing is set for Dec. 10.

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