John Irmer confesses to the cold case murder of Susan Marcia Rose

An Oregon man recently walked into an FBI field office and confessed to fatally striking a Boston woman in the head with a hammer nearly 44 years ago, prosecutors said Monday.

John Michael Irmer, 69, reportedly confessed to the “stone-cold” murder and rape in 1979 of Pennsylvania native Susan Marcia Rose, whom he met at a Boston skating rink This was announced by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Another man suspected of violent crime was originally charged, but he was acquitted in a trial in June 1981.

Irmer strolled into the FBI’s Portland field office last month and told agents that he met a woman with red hair at a skating rink on Halloween, the DA’s office said.

The couple entered a Beacon Street home that was being renovated at the time before he grabbed a hammer and hit her in the head, the DA’s office said. He then allegedly raped her and fled to New York the next day.

An undated photo of Susan Marcia Rose, who was murdered in Boston in 1979.
An undated photo of Susan Marcia Rose, who was murdered in Boston in 1979.
Suffolk DA/Handout

Investigators said Rose, a redhead, was the victim who was found bludgeoned to death in the Beacon Street home the day before Halloween, prosecutors said. She suffered fractures to her skull and cuts to her brain.

Irmer’s DNA matched samples preserved from the crime scene, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.

During his arraignment on Monday, Irmer mostly hid behind a wall in court. CBS Boston reported. He was remanded without bail on charges of murder and aggravated rape.

Irmer allegedly told FBI agents in Oregon that he wanted to “confess to multiple murders,” prosecutors said in court. reported the Boston Globe.

The alleged killer remained largely in hiding during a hearing on Monday.
The suspected killer remained largely in hiding during a hearing on Monday.

He also confessed to killing another person in the south. The case remains under investigation, Assistant District Attorney John Verner said in court.

Irmer was convicted in 1983 of robbing and murdering a drug dealer in San Francisco, the newspaper reported. He spent 30 years in prison for this murder, Verner said.

“Nearly 44 years after she was lost at such a young age, the family and friends of Susan Marcia Rose will finally have answers,” Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement.

“This was a brutal, cold-blooded murder, made worse by the fact that one person was charged and tried – and fortunately found not guilty – while the real killer remained silent until now,” Hayden said.

“No matter how cold cases are resolved, it is always the answers that matter to those who have lived with grief and loss and so many nagging questions.”


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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