November 19, 2013

Affidavit: Augusta man confessed that he stabbed girlfriend to death

Justin Pillsbury allegedly told his roommate that he caught Jillian Jones talking to a man on the phone.

By CRAIG CROSBY Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — An Augusta man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death last week inside their apartment told a roommate he discovered her talking to another man on the phone, adding that he blacked out and “screwed up,” according to court documents released Monday.

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Justin Pillsbury, 38, is escorted into Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on Monday for his initial appearance on murder charges in the death of Jillian Jones.

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

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Justin Pillsbury wears bandages at his appearance Monday at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

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State police affidavit in Jillian Jones' stabbing.

Justin G. Pillsbury, 38, who is charged with murdering Jillian Jones, 24, on Wednesday night at 32 Crosby St., made the comments to roommate Michael St. Pierre, Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tremblay wrote in an affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Tremblay’s affidavit says Pillsbury confessed to detectives that he stabbed and killed Jones. A state medical examiner determined she suffered three wounds – one above the ear, one on the right side of the neck and one under her chin – according to the affidavit.

Pillsbury, who had serious injuries from stab wounds police say he inflicted upon himself after stabbing Jones, was arrested Friday night at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Wearing a large loose bandage around the front and left side of his neck, Pillsbury made his first appearance Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Jones’ family members, including her father, a brother and a sister-in-law, attended the hearing.

“The father is devastated,” said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, who spent several minutes with Jones’ family after the hearing. “They are a very nice family.”

On Sunday, about 150 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Bingham to mourn Jones’ death. Jones grew up in the small town and was remembered as a sweet and loving person who was enrolled as a student at a Waterville beauty school at the time of her death.

‘Everyone needs to step up’

Jones is the first person in Augusta to die as a result of a homicide this year, but hers is the 20th such death in Maine in 2013, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. Eight of those 20 homicides have been the result of domestic violence.

Stokes lauded the push by Gov. Paul LePage and others to reduce domestic violence across the state, but despite those efforts, domestic violence continues to lead to about half of all homicides in the state, Stokes said. The vast majority of those cases involve violence perpetrated by men against women, he said. “We still have not made a significant dent,” Stokes said.

Deborah Shepherd, executive director of the Family Violence Project in Augusta, said change will occur only as the community becomes more involved by reporting suspected violence and encouraging victims to seek help.

“Everyone needs to step up to the plate,” she said. “You can’t just leave it to law enforcement and advocates.”

Shepherd added: “Domestic violence is tragic and unjustifiable. We feel outrage and sorrow for Jillian’s family and for those impacted by her murder.”

Held without bail

On Monday, Pillsbury softly said, “Yes, I do,” when Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy asked if he understood the charge against him and the minimum 25-year prison sentence if convicted. As he was leaving the courthouse, Pillsbury told a reporter he had no comment. Attorney James Lawley represented Pillsbury at the hearing and offered no comment on the case.

Murphy ordered Pillsbury to be held without bail until a hearing tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday. Stokes said the state would seek to have Pillsbury held without bail through his trial.

Tall and lean with tightly cropped hair and beard, Pillsbury was wearing jailhouse orange, and shuffled into the courtroom in ankle shackles. A short row of surgical staples closed what appeared to be a small puncture wound on the left side of his neck. A large cast-like bandage covered a portion of his hand and extended halfway up to his elbow. There was a small flexible bandage over his left index finger. His unbandaged hand was shackled to his waist as he was moved in and out of the courthouse.

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