(Lander, Wyo.) – After serving 144 days in jail, James Franklin Jagers, who was originally charged with stealing a vehicle owned by a man who went missing nearly 40 years ago, has been released.
In April, the Fremont County Attorney’s Office filed charges in Lander Circuit Court against the 66-year-old in connection with a 1974 motor vehicle theft that could be linked to Larry Marvin Morris’s disappearance.
The original information filed on April 2 charges Jagers, 66, with Grand Larceny and Theft of an Automobile. Each charge is a felony punishable by between one and 10 years in prison.
However, charges were reduced in August to misdemeanor petty larceny, which alleges the value of what he stole was less than $100. That crime is punishable by no more than six months in jail.
According to documents in circuit court, Jagers pleaded guilty to petty larceny on Aug. 23. His sentence totaled credit for the time he had already served. He was released that day.
When asked about the decline in charges and the future of the investigation into Morris’s disappearance, Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett declined to comment.
According to the affidavit filed with the original charges, Jagers was interviewed about Morris multiple times over the years but didn’t say anything about him until May 16, 1983, when the Division of Criminal Investigation received a letter from him, offering information in return for a transfer to a different location.
“During that interview, Jagers stated that Morris is dead and Jagers would be able to show where the body was buried,” states the affidavit. “On a later interview Jagers further stated he could never forget the location and details regarding Morris.”
Read more background on the case here.