Former Idaho Governor Candidate Convicted of Kidnapping & Murder

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A Colorado cold case is now closed after a jury found a failed Idaho 2018 governor candidate guilty of the felony murder of Jonelle Matthews.

According to a Facebook report, Steven Pankey (71) was found guilty of kidnapping Jonelle Matthews and felony murder in December 1984. Post from the Weld County District Attorney’s Office. 

Pankey was convicted in felony murder, second-degree kidnapping and falsely reporting to authorities. According to Denver 7 News. According to the local news outlet, he was sentenced in Denver to life imprisonment and possible parole within 20 years. 

“Reaching a guilty verdict today marks the end of our earthly justice for Jonelle, but it’s only the beginning of your journey,” said Matthews’ sister, Jennifer Morgensen, according to Denver 7 News.

Jonelle Matthews disappeared Dec. 20, 1984 when she returned from a concert. reported. After oil and natural gas workers from Weld county found her remains, they were recovered in 2014. According to the news outlet she was found in the same clothes that she had gone missing in. 

According to Coloradoan reports, Pankey closely monitored the police investigation into Jonelle’s disappearance. He would then make incriminating statements throughout the years. The news outlet reported that he was indicted one year after finding her remains.

“This is not about the defendant, this is about Jonelle,”According to the Coloradoan, Michael Rourke is the Weld County District attorney. “This is an effort of 38 years of incredible policework by the Greeley Police Department and an incredible amount of work by the attorneys in my office.”

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