Dementia may prevent trial for 1973 Virginia Beach slayings

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A man who police say killed two women in Virginia Beach nearly half a century ago may never stand trial for the slayings.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday that Ernest Broadnax has been diagnosed with dementia. Broadnax is charged in the deaths of Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler. Both women were 19 and from suburban Pittsburgh when they were found shot and strangled in a beach cottage in 1973.

The 82-year-old Broadnax was arrested in 2019 after police said he was linked to the crimes through advanced forensic technology. Dementia can lead to a defendant being declared incompetent — or unfit — to stand trial.

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