Man charged in 1973 killings booked in Va. Beach jail

Earnest Broadnax Mugshot_1555608342868.jpg

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused in a cold case homicide is back in Virginia Beach to face charges — more than four decades after the crime.

Ernest Broadnax is charged with two counts second-degree murder and rape in connection to the killings of two 19-year-old women in a cottage on Atlantic Avenue in 1973.

Investigators could not identify a suspect at the time, but they got a lead on Broadnax last fall.

The 80-year-old was arrested in New York earlier this month. He was booked into the Virginia Beach City Jail on Wednesday night, and is being held there without bond.

Appearing in court Thursday for an arraignment, Broadnax told a judge no attorney would represent him and that he “wanted to get this over as soon as possible,” before mumbling about his own family.

Pittsburgh natives Janice Pietoropla and Lynn Sethaler were vacationing in Virginia Beach when their bodies were discovered on June 30, 1973.

Broadnax is scheduled to appear in court just days before the 46th anniversary of their deaths for his preliminary hearing.

While Broadnax is charged with second-degree murder, those charges could be bumped up to first-degree if prosecutors decide to present evidence that the killings were premeditated before the Grand Jury.

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