The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 16, 2014

Several witnesses called in Pilcher trial

(Continued)

The prosecution also called Max Marlin, the owner of the farmhouse where Jones was found dead and cousin of Pilcher, to the stand Thursday morning.

Marlin was a recently divorced 27-year-old in 1974, and he lived alone at the house on Route One just west of Ottumwa, where Jones was discovered. He was an avid hunter and owned the .22 caliber rifle that was found at the scene, but there was also a shotgun found in pieces at his home that he said he did not recognize.

Since he was a bachelor at the time, Marlin said he had occasional parties at his home, but he never remembered seeing Jones at his home and did not recollect ever meeting her. He was close with Pilcher, since they were cousins, and at one time Pilcher told him he was hoping to get to know a waitress at Henry’s Drive-in a little better. However, he never mentioned the name of the girl.

Marlin was in California on a recreational trip when Jones was murdered in his home. His parents, who were in Ottumwa so Marlin’s father could tend to the farm, were the ones who found Jones’ body in the living room of the home.

The other witnesses called to the stand Thursday morning included Diana Fairchild. She is the ex-wife of Pilcher, and the two were married in 1974. The most interesting part of her testimony was that Pilcher picked her up from her job at approximately 5 p.m. on the day of the murder, but she did not notice anything suspicious from his behavior and did not recollect ever having to wash blood off of his clothing.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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