Pembroke Cold Case of Virginia Hannon – Solved after 37 years

Virginia “Ginny” Hannon was a 59 year old retired lunch lady for Bryantville Elementary School. She had been widowed for 7 years, and lived alone at 59 West Street in Pembroke, MA. She and her husband Joe never had children. Virginia enjoyed baking, and bingo and animals. She continued to help her father in law taking him lunch or to run errands daily. He lived in the same neighborhood just two doors down. After he murder, he was said to be devastated and could not stay in the neighborhood.

After not hearing from her on February 13, 1984, he sent his visiting nurse to check on her. She was found dead in her bed and it was assumed that she had passed away in her sleep, though based on the injuries she had sustained I am not sure how. Once she arrived at the funeral home the police were called due to the severity of her injuries.

Virginia was beaten, stabbed in the eye, more than 6 times in the abdomen and 20 times total, kicked so hard that she had a shoe print on her body and strangled with nylon stockings. She was tucked back into her bed with a cover over her.

Police were aware that Viriginia had recently inherited $380,000 and assumed that was the motive. However, that money was in the bank and accounted for. The crime scene showed a broken window, pry marks on the door, blood stains on paper towels, and other items.

The trail quickly went cold, there were a few suspects that the police followed up on over the many years this case was open but no evidence for the case to go anywhere until 37 years later. In 2019, a man confessed to a friend and the day after he died, that friend called the police.

The killer’s name was Jesse Aaron Moses Aylward and he was 58 years old at the time of his death 2/3/2020. He was born 3/9/1961, and was 22 at the time of the crime. He never disclosed the motive for the crime but he could have just been surprised during a break in. His friend’s timing was perfect because they were able to collect samples from Aylward’s body at Brockton Hospital and match the DNA to 3 separate items from the crime scene – the broken glass from the door, nylon stockings and bloody paper towels allowing the police to close this case. Aylward was not a suspect prior to this tip but he did live close by.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/us/Virginia-Hannon-murder.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/major-break-in-decades-old-cold-case-murder-of-pembroke-s-virginia-hannon/ar-BB1eJlyx

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/new-details-in-unsolved-1984-pembroke-murder/2332543/

https://www.wcvb.com/article/5-investigates-case-files-pembroke-murder-still-haunts-family-police-decades-later/25102852#

https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/pembroke-mariner-express/2020/02/28/pembroke-murder-spurs-action/1618024007/

https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/12076439/Jesse-Aaron-Moses-Aylward

Author: murderinne

Exploring local by cases in New England through extensive research and lots of coffee drinking. My opinions are my own. Sources links for more information will be posted with each post. You can email me with case suggestions, comments and just to send love at newenglandcases@gmail.com

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