Stories about Jeff Pyne’s case Today was a half day of court in the trial of Jeffrey Pyne. As usual, the judge began court a half hour late as witnesses continued testifying for the prosecution.
Pyne, 22, is accused of murdering his mentally ill mother Ruth Pyne, who had previously been violent towards Jeffrey and his 12-year-old sister Julia.
Jeff continues to maintain his innocence, and many of his family members, friends, and neighbors support him.
Continued testimony of Detective John Jacob
Detective John Jacob, blood spatter expert, continued his testimony today.
Jacob recalled that he was sent to the Pyne residence on July 8, 2010 to help remove Ruth Pyne from the house against her will. She had been ordered to have a psychiatric examination, and it was necessary to send three deputies and an ambulance to transport her.
Jacob then talked about the term “overkill,” which he used to describe the murder. The term overkill is used when the victim is killed in excess. For example, in the Ruth Pyne murder, the stab wounds were unnecessary after the blows to the head. Jacob stated that overkill can be caused by a number of factors, including rage.
Cross-examination of Jacob
During cross-examination, Jacob stated that he could not remember a wedding ring since Ruth Pyne’s hands were swollen and bloody.
Jacob also described training in blood spatter analysis and said that masks are often worn as blood gets on both trainers and trainees. He said that in a case like the Pyne murder, the weapon would have blood on it, and the attacker should also have blood on his body and clothes.
Jacob called the blood on the tractor in the garage as “cast-off” blood. He also said that the blood around Ruth Pyne was definitely caused by the head wounds and not by the stab wounds.
Jacob said that he did not climb up the ladder in the garage to check for blood on the studs.
Jacob testified that the broken part of the door handle in the garage was covered by blood. It appeared that the handle was broken during the attack when it was impacted by force. However, it could have also been broken before the attack.
Jacob also stated that the creases in Ruth Pyne’s head were long and straight. He did not know the size of the creases.
Jacob concluded by stating that he does not know who killed Ruth Pyne.
Lieutenant David Pement gives more police testimony
Lieutenant David Pement, manager of the 19 deputies at the Highland substation, took the stand next.
Pement was the second officer to arrive at the scene of the murder. He saw Bernie in an excited state with Julia. After observing the victim, he told Deputy Saile to preserve the scene. He called in two detectives plus the crime lab. Shortly after that, he called his captain in Pontiac and requested additional detectives.
Pement talked to Bernie for a short time. Bernie told him that he had talked to Ruth at 10:38 and she was shopping at Meijer’s.
Pement walked through the Pyne’s home and observed that it was pristine and extremely well-organized. Ruth Pyne’s purse was on the table and next to it was a Meijer’s receipt. The time on this receipt was 10:54 am.
Pement then took the receipt to Meijer’s in White Lake, and met with the security officer who provided him a video of Ruth entering the parking lot of Meijer’s, shopping, and then leaving the parking lot with her groceries.
On the video, Ruth was dressed in dark jeans and a dark t-shirt. Pement noticed this was different from the clothing she was wearing at the time of her death, which included striped sweat pants and a blue fleece jacket.
At 6:30, Pement returned to the scene at the Pyne’s house. At that time, the Medical Examiner and the Medical Examiner’s Removal Service were both in the garage. They removed Ruth’s body.
Pement then asked the fire chief to call an environmental company to secure the garage and board up the area where the garage door was now missing. He also asked that the blood be cleaned. He posted an officer outside the Pyne’s house until Serve-Pro, the company, arrived and secured the house and cleaned the blood.
Pement then went to the Highland substation and observed the interviews of Bernie and Jeff Pyne.
Cross-examination of Pement
Pement can’t recall a wedding ring or footwear on Ruth Pyne. He did state that he did not wear gloves when going through the house. He stated that the firemen on scene were asked to searched the neighborhood since they don’t have enough police to do the job.
Pement said that he assumed that the person who killed Ruth had a key to the house. He assumes the killer was Jeff Pyne based on factors including Jeff’s alibi, lack of cooperation, and injuries to his hands.
Witness Keith Thalacter, Meijer’s Store Detective is next
The next witness was Keith Thalacter, the store detective on duty the day that Lieutenant went into the store to request information. Thalacter‘s job is to apprehend shoplifters, assist law enforcement, and keep security records.
Thalacter confirmed that he met with Lieutenant Pement and provided him with the video tape of Ruth Pyne.
Kip Conley, neighbor, tells what he saw
Kip Conley was the next witness. He lives at 2508 Burwood, two houses north of the Pynes.
On May 27, Conley was trimming pine trees in his yard, starting at about 10:00 am. He did not see anybody all morning. He did see Jeff Pyne’s car parked behind the white car in the driveway.
Conley took frequent rest breaks that day since he is diabetic. He believes that it was about 1:40 when he went in the house for a break and sandwich. When he came back out at 2:10, he noticed that Jeff’s car was gone. At 2:20, his wife returned from shopping, and Conley went inside with his wife and son.
At 2:35, Conley’s wife saw Bernie and Julia banging on the doors of various neighbors. He saw that Dave Gilbert, Pyne’s next door neighbor, had gone to help them and went into the garage. Conley observed Bernie pacing and saying to himself “my wife is bi-polar.” The Fanfares, other neighbors, came out and took the Pynes into their home for Julia to use the bathroom.
When the police arrived, Conley went into his home.
Conley also testified that Ruth Pyne often wore sweatpants to walk in the neighborhood.
Cross-examination of Conley
Champion was very thorough with this cross-examination.
Conley told the court that his son lived with them at the time of the murder. His son was about 27 years old. For about ten years in the past, Conley’s daughter and two grandkids lived with him and his wife. One of these grandkids was named James and is the same age is Jeffrey. James has a criminal record.
The Pynes and Conleys do not have a good relationship. Bernie once called the police and accused him of lying when the Pyne’s house was egged at the time Conley’s grandkids lived with him. Bernie also had been very aggressive to Kip Conley’s wife.
Conley remembered that Bernie also once had a heated exchange with the Fanfares, and Bernie called the police.
Conley has only seen or talked to Jeffrey once. That was when Conley went over and asked Jeff to have some workers stop banging at 9:30 pm. Jeff was the only one home, and was very cordial to Conley. Jeff told the workers to stop per Conley’s request.
Conley said that he and other neighbors received a letter from the sheriff dated June 6th. The letter explained the purposes of the recent patrols, and asked the neighbors to come forward with any information. Conley responded to the letter, and police then interviewed him.
When asked by Champion if he knew who killed Ruth Pyne, Conley replied no, he did not.
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