The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 23, 2013

Pollard guilty on murder, robbery charges

OTTUMWA — Two guilty verdicts were handed down in the state's case against Bruce Pollard.

Pollard, 26, was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the death of Cinema X manager Kenneth McDaniel on March 11, 2012.

After just an hour deliberating Tuesday afternoon, the jury returned with two guilty verdicts. Pollard did not move a muscle while the verdicts were read.

Pollard's girlfriend, Amanda Collins, broke down in tears, while McDaniel's family and friends cried and hugged each other.

During three hours of the defense's closing arguments, defense attorney Allen Cook said there would be no reason for Pollard to lie after immediately telling police in his second interview, "Take me to prison" and explaining the events that led to McDaniel's death.

Pollard told police that McDaniel had placed a hand on his leg in the theater, which made him panic and try to escape. When he was met with a locked front door, he said he turned around and McDaniel was right there. A struggle ensued and McDaniel died after receiving blows to the head from a pry bar, as well as fractured cartilage in his neck and possible strangulation.

But that's not what happened, said prosecutor Scott Brown.

A hand on Pollard's leg, two zippers down and a white stain on McDaniel's pants and an injury to McDaniel's penis "do not make a sexual assault," Brown said.

"The only evidence we have about what happened in the theater is from Bruce Pollard," he said. "There's nothing physical at the theater or on anything seized that would confirm that."

During the state's closing arguments, Brown brandished a pry bar identical to the one used in the murder. He swung his arms, demonstrating how Pollard beat or strangled McDaniel to death.

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