BINGHAM — Family and friends of 24-year-old Jillian Jones gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday evening to remember the young woman stabbed to death at her Augusta apartment Wednesday.
About 150 people, including many young people, gathered in a field behind Quimby Middle School, holding candles and balloons and wearing string necklaces with a picture of Jones, who grew up in Bingham.
A thin blond who was attending beauty school in Waterville, Jones was remembered as a sweet and loving person by her many friends in the small town, where almost everyone seemed to know her family.
Tim LeRoy Brown, the vigil’s organizer and a friend of Jones, said he hoped that people would talk about their memories of her.
“I called her my sister,” said Brown, 24, who lives in Fairfield.
On Wednesday, Jones was found stabbed to death at the apartment on Crosby Street in Augusta where she lived with her boyfriend, Justin Pillsbury, 38. Pillsbury was charged with murder Friday afternoon at MaineGeneral Medical Center, where he was being treated for self-inflicted stab wounds.
On Sunday, Jones’ friend and a former roommate, Brittney Kirk, 23, was collecting thoughts and prayers on a balloon at the vigil in memory of her.
“She was a beautiful soul, a caring, loving and nonjudgmental person,” said Kirk, of North Anson. “We used to say we were sisters always and forever, and if we were writing it we would sign â€˜xxoo’ at the end,” she said.
Kirk said she met Pillsbury a few times and that he and Jones had been dating on and off for about two years. They would be together for a few weeks or months, split up, and then get back together, she said. When asked if he had ever hurt her, she said it was “never anything like this.”
Julie Richard, principal at Valley High School, said Jones’ death has been hard on the entire town.
“In a small community like this, it really shakes people. They want to join in and give what they have, whether it is through a vigil or otherwise,” she said. Stephanie Gray, a friend and former roommate of Pillsbury’s who now lives in Florida, said by email Sunday that Jones’ death was a shock. Even though she had moved away, Gray said she keeps in touch with Pillsbury through Facebook and that he had seemed fine lately.
“I’ve known Justin since I was 17, about 13 years now and I’ve never known him to hurt a fly. He loves his kids and he loved that girl more than anything, so none of this makes sense to any of us,” she wrote.
Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org