A Houston County grand jury has indicted a 59-year-old woman on murder charges in a more than 41-year-old killing.
Mary Jane Stewart was indicted April 4 on charges of malice and felony murder in the Nov. 12, 1975, slaying of 16-year-old Cheryl White.
Stewart is accused of stabbing her former roommate in the chest and cutting her throat with a knife, according to the indictment. White was stabbed 15 times in her throat, arms and side, according to Telegraph archives.
At the time of the slaying, Stewart was 18 and went by the name of Mary Jane Stewart Staples.
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Authorities have not said what led to her arrest in White’s killing all these years later.
Stewart was arrested March 15 at her San Antonio, Texas, apartment and extradited to Houston County and jailed here on March 27.
More than 40 years ago, Stewart pleaded guilty to perjury after failing a polygraph examination in preparation for a court hearing related to the slaying.
Stewart was sentenced to three years probation, to include mental health counseling, and fined $300, Houston County court records show.
According to court records, Stewart made false statements at a hearing for two men originally arrested in connection to the killing based largely on her statements. The charges against the men were later dropped.
“I think in the trial of the case, the evidence would show that prior to the commitment hearing, (Stewart) underwent a polygraph examination which indicated deception, and the police officer told her to tell the same story at the commitment hearing,” her attorney said in a transcript of the plea hearing.
“Our defense at trial would be that it was not willful — the statements were not willful. However, (Stewart) wants to enter her plea and dispose of it in this fashion, and we would recommend that the court adopt the recommendation.”
Her false testimony apparently had placed both men at the long-since demolished Parkway Apartments on Crestview Drive where the women had lived in Apt. No. 32 near the time of the slaying, according to court records.
Stewart allegedly killed White at 1 a.m. inside their apartment, according to a March 9 bench warrant issued for Stewart. She had only been White’s roommate for about a week before the killing, according to Telegraph archives.
White would have turned 57 this year.