LOCAL NEWS

Provo Police Reopen 1978 Murder Case of Marla Scharp

Nov 17, 2019, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:26 am

PROVO, Utah – Recent findings in the cold case of a 26-year-old woman may show the serial killer who confessed to her murder was not the person who killed her.

For years, Marla Scharp’s family has been told that she was murdered by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

A press conference was held on Saturday by the Utah Cold Case Coalition in front of the Provo Police Department to make the announcement.

“You don’t just get over something like that,” said Marla Scharp’s sister, Leah Scharp. “That is such a huge hole in the family and it can never be replaced.”

Leah Scharp spent 35 years thinking that her sister was murdered by the infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

Leah Scharp along with the Utah Cold Case Coalition now believes the murderer is someone else, “Her case was closed in 1984 by the confession of Henry Lee Lucas,” according to the Utah Cold Case Coalition.

They recently met with the Provo Police Department to provide new information in the case and ask them to take another look.

“The police department will be reopening and reexamining the 1978 murder of Marla Scharp,” said Karra Porter of the Utah Cold Case Coalition.

26-year-old Marla Scharp was raped and killed in her Provo bedroom. Her roommates had gone to the convenience store.

“They were gone for approximately 30 minutes,” Adrienne Rae, Marla Scharp’s niece, said.

“It’s so outrageous that someone could come in and do that,” said Leah Scharp.

Lucas confessed to the murder and hundreds of others but many of these have since been debunked as was the case Janelle Peet’s father, Donaver Hanna, who was killed in Texas.

“Lucas was working in Florida and physically went to the bank every Friday to cash his paycheck and there is no way he could’ve killed my father,” said Peet. “The Arlington Police Department later determined that Henry Lee Lucas could not have done it.”

In 1985, Lucas wrote a letter recanting his confession of Marla Scharp’s murder.

“Provo at that point declined to reopen that case again,” said Valerie Colgai, Marla Scharp’s cousin.

Recently, her cousin approached the coalition for help reviewing the case. The coalition says they have found forensic evidence that might clear Lucas.

This includes proof that he was fed his confession.

“There were 30 points that were fed to Lucas,” Colgai said.

While the family waits for the findings of the Provo Police Department, they’re hopeful the real killer will be found.

The Provo Police Department confirmed to KSL-TV that they received the information and are actively taking another look into it.

“They have changed our lives in a way that can never be changed back,” said Rei, Marla Scharp’s niece.

Lucas died in a Texas prison in 2001.

In the meantime, the Coalition is asking the public to take a closer look at these pictures of a beer tap which was found under Marla Scharp’s body. They believe it may be the link to the true killer.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A 36-year-old man is accused of threatening police with a gun in downtown Salt lake City on Feb. 28...

Mary Culbertson

Man accused of threatening police with gun in downtown Salt Lake

A man is accused of threatening police with a gun in downtown Salt Lake City.

22 minutes ago

Huntsman Mental Health Institutes building...

Shelby Lofton

How to find a legitimate and qualified mental health professional

A bill that would have regulated life coaching in Utah has hit a wall, and that has experts concerned for families seeking help.

25 minutes ago

Two workers at Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison are credited with helping first responders wh...

Alex Cabrero

2 Utah Department of Corrections workers credited for helping during medical emergencies

Two workers with the Utah Department of Corrections in Gunnison were in the right place at the right time. After stopping to help an 85-year-old woman whose vehicle had gone off the road, John Martinez and Mike Jennings found themselves in a different situation when a responding EMT had a medical emergency on scene.

31 minutes ago

FILE PHOTO...

Michael Houck

Shooting near Naples Elementary School forces lockdown, two victims hospitalized

A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nearby Naples Elementary School to lockdown Wednesday afternoon.

57 minutes ago

A West Jordan nanny is behind bars, accused of seriously injuring a baby....

Garna Mejia

West Jordan woman arrested, accused of seriously injuring the baby she nannied

A West Jordan nanny is behind bars, accused of seriously injuring a baby.

1 hour ago

The Department of Cultural and Community Engagement's STEM for Milo + Friends....

Debbie Worthen

Utah STEM program aims to help parents prepare children for success with conversation cards

When it comes to preparing your child for kindergarten, there is one score that experts now say can determine all kinds of life success, and it's not reading. It's math.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Provo Police Reopen 1978 Murder Case of Marla Scharp