OTTUMWA — Bruce Pollard’s girlfriend gave her account of what happened the day of Kenneth McDaniel’s murder and what unfolded in the days following.
McDaniel, 70, was killed on March 11, 2012, at the Cinema X Theater he managed in downtown Ottumwa. Bruce Pollard is accused of using a pry bar to beat McDaniel over the head and across the neck, as well as possibly strangling him.
The afternoon of March 11, 2012, Pollard and his girlfriend, Amanda Collins, got into an argument at her home, 522 Camille St., where Pollard often spent the night.
He left on foot, though they remained in contact that night through text messages and cellphone calls. She said when he left he was wearing a blue striped shirt that she had previously bought for him as a gift.
Between 10 p.m. and midnight, he returned to Collins’ home in a taxi cab, she said. But he was in clothing she had never seen before.
“When I asked him about it, he didn’t really want to answer back,” she said. “He said he threw [the blue striped shirt] away because he got in a fight ... over in the alley by Walgreen’s.”
But the morning after Investigator Aaron Vose searched the Promise Center downtown, Marlys Breon-Drish, the center’s director, called police after finding two shirts, a dark blue striped polo and a light blue T-shirt.
While she had found the shirts in the cushions of a chair before Vose’s search, she thought nothing of the stains and threw them in a pile of clothing.
The stains were visually “consistent with dried blood,” Vose said. Only the dark blue striped polo was submitted to DCI for testing, and blood from both Pollard and McDaniel was identified.
The defense attacked the shirt, questioning why police failed to locate it during their search of the facility. Defense attorney Natasha O’Hollearn also used the center’s guidelines as evidence to support their contention Pollard was mentally ill.