The Ottumwa Courier


January 23, 2014

Attorneys: Use common sense


"Is it a real possibility that someone other than Gene Pilcher killed Mary Jayne Jones? Of course it is!" said Cook.

That's one argument among many for reasonable doubt.

"Anything is possible, but is it reasonable?" Timmins asked jurors.

Pilcher, said Timmins, had access to the farmhouse. He had the time, despite what the defense would have jurors believe. He had bothered the young lady at her work, and she turned him down for a date. He'd forcefully violated a woman at the farmhouse a few days earlier. Told that lady he liked guns. A few days later, Jones, is driven out to the same farmhouse, taken to the same room, forcefully violated and killed.

"They (the defense team) want you to believe that anyone in Ottumwa who had access to a car on April 9, 1974, could have killed Mary Jayne Jones," said Timmins. "What would they do ... get her to go with [them], drive around the countryside until they found a farmhouse with no cars in the driveway, hope they could get in, sexually assault [the victim] and hope no one came home? Is that reasonable?"

In fact, she rebutted, their argument doesn't make sense.

"They want to say since no one saw her in a car with the defendant, he couldn’t have possibly killed her. Well, nobody saw anyone in a car with Mary Jayne Jones that day. Somebody killed her."

One suggestion that both attorneys gave the jury during their closing arguments: Use common sense. If you remember to use common sense when considering the evidence, you'll come to the correct verdict.

— Ottumwa Courier newspaper reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark

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