The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 15, 2013

Cinema X murder trial to begin Tuesday

OTTUMWA — The man accused of bludgeoning and choking to death the Cinema X manager is headed to trial.

Bruce Darnell Pollard, 26, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the death of Cinema X manager Kenneth McDaniel, 70, last year. McDaniel's body was discovered inside the front door of the adult theater the morning of March 13, 2012.

Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Pollard's attorneys, Allen Cook and Natasha O'Hollearn, have filed an "affirmative defense." They will plead Pollard was temporarily insane at the time of the murder. An affirmative defense means the circumstances surrounding the murder are not disputed — Pollard confessed to killing McDaniel — but his state of mind is up for debate.

Former Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark previously told the Courier that Pollard confessed to entering the theater with a pry bar, striking McDaniel in the head and then choking him. He then allegedly stole cash and pornographic material.

In the most recent hearing on July 10, the court ruled on pending motions filed by the defense and by the state, represented by Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown and Wapello County Attorney Lisa Holl.

Judge Lucy Gamon ruled that character evidence and evidence of "prior bad acts" will be excluded from the trial, with some exceptions.

"The State may introduce evidence concerning an investigation into an incident at a local business which led police to serve a warrant at Amanda Collins' residence," Gamon wrote. "This evidence shall be admitted for the sole purpose of clarifying the starting point of the homicide investigation."

During the execution of that search warrant, police spoke with Collins, Pollard's girlfriend. She said Pollard had come home on March 11, 2012 injured and in different clothes than when he had left the house earlier. Through the ensuing investigation, police found a bloody pry bar and pornographic DVD cases at the Promise Center, 230 E. Main St., one block from the Cinema X Theater. Bloody clothes belonging to Pollard were also discovered at the center.

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