Jury begins deliberations in Pilcher trial

Robert Eugene Pilcher

After 40 years, justice for Mary Jayne Jones is now in the hands of a jury.ã??

The jury in the first degree murder trial of Robert Eugene Pilcher began its deliberations around 4 p.m. this afternoon and worked for about an hour before retiring for the evening.

Deliberations began after a day of closing arguments that could be described as epic.

Assistant State Attorney General Denise Timmins addressed the jury first.

She argued that the case is clear cut; only the 67-year-old Pilcher had a connection to the rural Wapello County farmhouse where the murder was committed, and to 17-year-old Jones.

Timmins had to acknowledge to the jury that the state faced difficulties in prosecuting a 40-year- old murder.

For instance, Pilcherâ??s former girlfriend Kim Armstrong testified that he confessed to her. However, the effectiveness of Armstrong's testimony was damaged by her years of crack use.

Defense counsel Allen Cook spent nearly three hours on his closing statement, telling jurors that the prosecution offered no hard evidence against Pilcher, only â??maybes stacked on maybes.â??

Cook even challenged the State's key piece of evidence... a DNA sample linked to Pilcher found at the crime scene.

Cook told jurors that even if the semen stain was left by Pilcher, there is no way to prove when he left it in a house he frequented.

The jury is expected to resume deliberations around 9 a.m. Friday.

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