AUGUSTA — The stabbing death of a woman at an apartment on Crosby Street Wednesday night has been ruled a homicide, police said Thursday.
Investigators haven’t charged anyone and have stopped short of calling her boyfriend a suspect, even though he is hospitalized, apparently with self-inflicted stab wounds, and police say only the man and the woman were involved in the incident.
Jillian Jones, 24, was found stabbed to death inside the apartment at 32 Crosby St. where she lived with boyfriend Justin Pillsbury, 38, who is in stable condition at MaineGeneral Medical Center, Sgt. Jason Richards, of the Maine State Police’s Major Crimes Unit, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Police, who plan to interview Pillsbury when his condition improves, aren’t seeking suspects in the case and there is no threat to the public, Richards said.
Beth Morelend, a neighbor of the couple, said she heard Pillsbury and Jones arguing hours before the incident, which occurred in the last house on a quiet dead-end street.
“She was crying,” Morelend said. “He wanted her to leave. She wanted her stuff and he laughed it off and said, ‘You have to go.’ ”
Morelend said she didn’t think police needed to be called for what she viewed as a quarrel between “a girlfriend who didn’t want to break up and a guy who didn’t care.”
The stabbing was reported by a friend of Pillsbury’s who was around the house at the time of the incident, according to state police. When police and firefighters got to the scene shortly after 8 p.m., Richards said, nobody else was in the home besides Jones and Pillsbury. Richards wouldn’t say whether anyone else had been there earlier in the night.
Deputy Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta Police Department said when first responders arrived, the woman was found dead and the man critically injured, leading city police to call state police for help.
Police investigated throughout the night, speaking to a number of neighbors during the process. Neighbor Marie Allen said Jones’ body was removed from the apartment around 7 a.m. Thursday. Richards said an autopsy was conducted later in the day, showing Jones died of stab wounds, but he wouldn’t say how many or where she was stabbed.
Pillsbury has a minor history in Augusta District Court. In 2004, his then-girlfriend, Amerika Stewart, of Dexter, the mother of his two children, obtained a protection-from-abuse order after an incident in which she said he had choked her. The order was lifted a few months later.
Reached Thursday, Stewart said the two children are now 12 and 14 and are staying with Pillsbury’s mother in Benton.
Her 15-year relationship with Pillsbury was occasionally violent, she said. He sometimes hit her and she sometimes hit him, she said.
She applied for the order in May 2004 and it was lifted the next year, but Stewart said the two were together the whole time and all in all, he was “a good man.”
“I’ve always had respect for him and I’ve always had love for him,” she said. “It really breaks my heart that he got into this situation.”
Stewart said she and Pillsbury finally broke up a year and a half ago. State police said Jones and Pillsbury had been seeing each other for about two years and had moved into the first-floor apartment recently.
Pillsbury has lived in Augusta in recent years and is employed as a flagger at road construction sites, McCausland said. Several Crosby Street neighbors who know Pillsbury described him as friendly and good-natured. Morelend said Pillsbury is “decent and mild-mannered.”
Malcolm Leeman, who lives in the same apartment building, said Pillsbury has been a close friend for more than three years. Leeman said Pillsbury sometimes drinks heavily, but that he is “a great person” He said Pillsbury loved Jones, too, but that there had been some “bumps in the road” recently.
Stewart said Pillsbury was in the military. Maj. Michael Steinbuchel, spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard, said Pillsbury was a private in the Guard, but he wouldn’t say when he served.
Jones grew up in Bingham and was studying to be a beautician, according information provided by state police. She made headlines in 2011 after she was arrested along with her then-boyfriend after their 18-month-old toddler swallowed cocaine. In February 2012, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at: