The Ottumwa Courier


January 15, 2014

Jury seated, trial underway in 1974 killing

OTTUMWA — The second day of the Robert Eugene Pilcher trial, who is being charged with killing Mary Jayne Jones in 1974, started out very quietly.

Until 1:30 p.m., the prospective jury and counsel had only been in the courtroom for a total of just minutes because Judge Richard Meadows and the counsel retreated to the judge’s chambers for conversations about “legal issues,” which were not explained.

When the 35 prospective jurors finally came back to the courtroom, defense attorney Allen Cook continued with his voir dire from Tuesday. He questioned the jury pool about what stories to believe from someone who brags a lot, if they realize the way some people do things is different than the way others do and he ended with again making sure each of the prospective jurors understand the term, “beyond reasonable doubt.”

After the defense concluded its voir dire, each side took turns striking out prospective jurors until the 12-person jury and three alternates were chosen.

The judge granted a short recess, and then prosecuting attorney Denise Timmins read the trial information and the defendant’s plea of not guilty. Then she started with the prosecution’s opening statement.

Their statement began with describing the crime scene, which was a farmhouse just west of Ottumwa, and what Jones was doing the day she was murdered. She also mentioned that in 1974 Pilcher was one of the main suspects in the case, but at that time there was not enough evidence to convict anyone of the murder.

Timmins said that Pilcher was a frequent visitor to the home that Jones was found in because he was a cousin of the owner, Max Marlin. She also said that evidence has shown there was a connection directly between Pilcher and Jones, because he went to Henry’s Drive-In, where Jones worked, quite often and apparently asked her out on multiple occasions.

Text Only
  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0624 OTT Marine photos Marine mourned by family

    OTTUMWA --- Adam Wolff's extended family was able to enjoy a bit of time with him before he deployed. "He came back in March, after his [Marine Corps advanced] schooling in North Carolina," said his sister, Angela Malone. "We had a dinner for him, a

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

AP National