Trial Begins in 1984 Beating Death of Glendale Woman, 98

The trial of a Glendale man charged in the beating death of a 98-year-old Glendale woman began this week in Superior Court in Pasadena.

Joseph John Reyes Jr., 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Edna McFarland, a widow who lived alone and was found severely beaten in her home Aug. 14, 1984. McFarland never regained consciousness, and she died at Glendale Memorial Hospital two days after being found by a neighbor.

Reyes was linked to the crime by a palm print in McFarland's apartment, prosecutors said. She was beaten during a burglary in which Reyes stole government-issued butter and cheese given to McFarland in a senior citizens program, prosecutors said.

Jury selection began Tuesday and continued Wednesday, with opening arguments expected to begin today or Monday. The trial before Judge Jack B. Tso had been delayed for more than a year because of a case backlog and to allow the defense extra time to prepare Reyes' case, officials said.

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