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

Top Stories

Local News

(Andrew Adams/KSL TV)...
Madison Swenson

1 hospitalized, 1 in custody following shooting in West Valley City

One person was taken to the hospital Friday night after a driver shot another driver during some sort of disagreement in West Valley City.
23 hours ago
The Unified Police Department of the Greater Salt Lake area is asking for the public's help in loca...
Madison Swenson

Police searching for suspect in stabbing, child abduction in Midvale

Police are asking for the public's help in locating 20-year-old Jonathan Moises Wuanloxten Hidalgo, who is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and then abducting a 4-year-old child.
23 hours ago
Credit card skimming device...
Cary Schwanitz

Federal judge sentences foreign national in $200,000 skimming scheme

A federal judge sentenced Yofre Napoleon Almonte, 49, to prison after he plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
23 hours ago
Photo of 17-year-old Maddie Anderson...
Ayanna Likens

17-year-old fighting for her life after a suspected drunk driver hits her car

A 17-year-old girl is in an intensive care unit after a suspected impaired driver smashed into her car Sunday night.
23 hours ago
Luke Bowman, chief pilot for the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau, describes Thursday...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Pilot recounts rescue of ‘very fortunate’ helicopter crew that crashed in La Sal Mountains

The pilot who helped rescue three crew members in a La Sal Mountains helicopter crash on Thursday says the group is lucky the wreckage didn't slide down the mountainside.
23 hours ago
Theives often hit Heebeegeebees comic stor...
Mike Anderson

Retail theft takes a hard toll on small local businesses

Inflation isn't the only force behind rising prices as the former CEOs of Walmart and Home Depot say retail theft is growing at epidemic levels.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Provo Police Reopen 1978 Murder Case of Marla Scharp