Hearing set in Bertha Reynolds cold case murder

A New London judge has scheduled a June 30 hearing to determine if the state has enough evidence to prosecute 38-year-old Irene Reynolds for the 1993 murder of her mother in Norwich.

The Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit charged Reynolds, of Baltic, with murder May 14. She is accused of fatally beating and strangling her 60-year-old mother, Bertha Reynolds, whose body was found at the bottom of a staircase at her home at 84 Laurel Hill Ave. in Norwich on July 19, 1993.

Reynolds, who has been held on a $2 million bond since her arrest, made her first appearance Monday in the New London courthouse where major crimes are tried. Attorney Peter E. Scillieri was appointed to represent her.

On June 30, State's Attorney Michael L. Regan will present evidence to Judge Susan B. Handy, who will determine whether there is "probable cause" to prosecute Reynolds. Defendants in murder cases are entitled to a probable cause hearing within 60 days of their arrest. After listening to evidence, the judge will rule on whether there is probable cause that the crime has occurred and probable cause that the defendant committed the crime.

The cold case unit, formed last fall, reinvestigated the Bertha Reynolds murder and offered an increased reward of $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. The arrest warrant affidavit in the case remains sealed, but Bertha Reynolds' husband said police obtained new information from a former roommate of Irene Reynolds in making the arrest.

Reynolds' husband, Joel Outlaw, tearfully proclaimed his wife's innocence at her arraignment last week. He quietly watched Monday's proceeding. The couple has three children between them.

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