The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 16, 2014

Several witnesses called in Pilcher trial


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 bedroom of the home.

When Jones was found by Marlin’s parents, it was obvious she had been severely beaten. According to the Deputy Chief State Medical Examiner Dr. Dennis Klein, who was brought to the stand Thursday afternoon, the bruises seemed to coincide with the timing of the gunshot wounds, meaning Jones was beaten somewhere close to the time she was killed.

Klein also said that based off of his findings the gunshot wounds to Jones’ head and left breast seemed to come at a very close range, and Jones was lying down when she was shot. He said he was able to come to those conclusions based on the laceration patters of the gunshot wounds and carbon matter found beside the bullet holes.

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