The diagnosis may prevent a trial from taking place.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — 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, 82, has been diagnosed with dementia.

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According to his defense attorneys, state-hired and private doctors have diagnosed Broadnax with the condition. It affects a person’s memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily life.

Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler, both 19 and from suburban Pittsburgh, were found shot, strangled and slashed in a cottage on the city’s oceanfront in 1973.

Broadnax was arrested in 2019 after police said he was linked to the crimes through advanced forensic technology.

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Dementia can lead to a defendant being declared incompetent — or unfit — to stand trial. The condition is irreversible and often grows worse.

Annette Miller, one of Broadnax’s public defenders, said he’s not going to get better.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said in a statement that his office is “bound by the options available under the law in terms of restoration, and we continue to examine all options available to us in seeking justice in this case.”

Judy Poklemba, who was 16 when her sister Janice Pietropola was raped and murdered, said: “There is no justice in this for Janice. And that just kills us. It absolutely kills us.”

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