The Ottumwa Courier


July 23, 2013

Pollard guilty on murder, robbery charges



"He beat him and strangled him for minutes," he said. "[McDaniel] did not deserve what happened to him. No one deserves that. He did not deserve to have his head beaten with a crowbar, he did not deserve to be strangled, he did not deserve to be attacked by Bruce Pollard in the theater that day."

There was also evidence showing the robbery happened before the assault, Brown said. No blood was found on the cash box, DVDs, inside the counter or on the magazine racks. If Pollard's story that he strangled McDaniel with his hands was true, Brown said, "then there would be blood on [his hands], which would have transferred to at least one of the items."

He also said Pollard could not be both incapable of forming intent and capable of knowing to act reasonably to recognize imminent danger, refuting the defense's claims that Pollard was suffering from "diminished mental capacity" that made him "blackout" during the confrontation.

One thing both sides did agree on was that Pollard suffered from mental disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and either bipolar or a personality disorder as a result of childhood trauma.

Both Pollard and his sister suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of their biological father, though specific instances of one-on-one sexual abuse between Pollard and his father could not be confirmed, said clinical psychologist Dr. Anna Salter.

But any of those diagnoses do not mean Pollard is insane, Salter said, which means he could not have "blacked out" during the confrontation, as clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Craig Rypma claimed.

Before Pollard became a suspect, police knew about lewd activity inside and outside Cinema X and they knew McDaniel was discovered with the flies on his pants down, Cook said, so an attempted sexual assault should not have seemed improbable.

And because police did not follow through on this claim of sexual assault, Cook said they exhibited "confirmation bias," meaning they heard Pollard say he killed McDaniel and "disregarded all other evidence that could establish the contrary."

The next step is sentencing. First-degree murder, a Class A felony, holds a sentence of life imprisonment. First-degree robbery, a Class B felony, holds a sentence of 25 years imprisonment.

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