Valedictorian, 22, goes on trial for mother’s murder after ‘bludgeoning her to death at home following years of abuse’… and his father’s standing by him — (The Daily Mail)

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The Daily Mail

By Louise Boyle and Rachel Quigley

Updated: 22:04, 13 November 2012

Jeffrey Pyne, 22, charged with first-degree murder after mother’s body found at Michigan home

High school valedictorian says he is innocent – and father supports him

Ruth Pyne, who had a history of psychotic tendencies, spent two weeks in jail in 2010 for beating and trying to choke her son

The murder trial of a high school valedictorian begins today after he allegedly bludgeoned and stabbed his mother to death.

Jeffrey Pyne, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother Ruth whose body was found in the garage of the family’s suburban Michigan home.

Mrs Pyne, 51, was found in May 2011 by Jeffrey’s ten-year-old sister Julia. She had been stabbed 16 times and her head repeatedly beaten with a board.

Family: Jeffrey, left, stands behind his little sister Julia, beside his mother Ruth and his father Bernard, right, who maintains his son’s innocence

Jury selection was under way at Oakland County Circuit this afternoon and could take several days.

Jeffrey Pyne was indicted by a secret grand jury five months after his mother’s death in 2011. Although little has been revealed pre-trial, it is believed that the prosecution has mentioned wounds to the 22-year-old’s hands, according to ABC.

Pyne, who was in the midst of a promising academic career studying biology at the University of Michigan, maintains his innocence, saying he was working as a handyman for a neighbor at the time of his mother’s death.

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His father Bernard Pyne also believes that his son is innocent of the brutal slaying on May 27, 2011. If convicted, Jeffrey Pyne faces life without parole.

The defense has suggested that the brutal murder could have been committed by an intruder although nothing was stolen from the home, according to the Detroit News.

The 22-year-old has been in jail since being arrested in October last year. He was first held in the same Oakland County prison where his mother spent two weeks in 2010, charged with beating her son and trying to choke him.

Many in the close-knit, rural community of Highland Township knew that the pair had a dysfunctional and volatile relationship.

Mrs Pyne, a dental hygienist, reportedly suffered from psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia and was involuntarily hospitalized.

Court documents stated she needed medication to control her violent tendencies, most of which were targeted towards her son.

His father Bernard, a 52-year-old automotive engineer, maintains his son is innocent and would never do anything to hurt his mother.

Court records show that it was when Jeffrey was only nine that his mother started threatening to kill him. Bernard Pyne described his wife as a ‘kind and loving mother’ when she had taken her medication.

Defense attorney James Champion of Grand Rapids said Jeffrey Pyne played no role in the death.

‘This wasn’t a case of some kind of struggle or outburst,’ Mr Champion said. ‘Jeffrey Pyne did not do

This is something Jeffrey Dahmer would do, not Jeffrey Pyne.’

For five months her murder was unsolved before the case was taken up by Oakland County grand jury, convened earlier this year to review dozens of unsolved homicides. Prosecutors said testimony ties Jeffrey Pyne to his mother’s death.

‘The grand jury compelled testimony from the defendant’s family, friends and coworkers, which produced evidence linking Jeffrey Pyne to the murder,’ Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said in announcing the indictment.

The Pynes – who were deeply religious – enrolled their son and daughter at West Highland Christian Academy where Jeffrey Pyne was described as a star student and athlete.

Accused: Pyne has been described as a star student and a fine athlete

From 1998 onwards, Ruth Pyne’s mental health deteriorated, and she would threaten to kill herself and her son. After this she was diagnosed with being both bipolar and a paranoid schizophrenic.

Over the coming years, psychiatrists would describe her as ‘angry and violent’, ‘severely mentally ill’, ‘a danger to herself and others’ and suffering from ‘acute mania’, court records show.

In 2009, in a petition to the probate court asking that his wife be committed to a mental hospital, Bernard Pyne wrote she was refusing medication, believed a computer chip had been implanted in her daughter and had been ‘striking our son for no reason’.

He had sent their young daughter Julia to stay with relatives. According to the Detroit Free Press, Bernard Pyne wrote: ‘I must work, and can’t monitor her when I work. … She claims that her family could die, and it would not bother her at all.’

Her treating psychiatrist wrote on October 7, 2009: ‘She is likely to deteriorate severely and become a danger to herself and others due to her refusal to accept treatment for her very serious mental illness,’ and recommended immediate transport to a mental health hospital for involuntary commitment.

She was in and out of hospital and spent time in jail in 2010 after trying to kill her son. The judge released her on $10,000 bond and said she could return home as long as she took her medication in front of her husband.

The trial of Jeffrey Pyne continues.

 

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Pyne Trial: Ex-high school valedictorian sentenced to 20-year minimum for murdering mother — (Michigan Live)

By Gus Burns | fburns@mlive.com

on January 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM, updated January 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

PONTIAC — Twenty-two-year-old Jeffrey Pyne of Highland Township watched his future, which appeared promising until May of 2011, fizzle Tuesday as Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman sentenced the young man to a minimum of 20 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Appeals withstanding, Jeffrey Pyne will now spend up to 60 years behind bars after being found guilty of brutally killing his 51-year-old mother Ruth Pyne on May 27, 2011.

Inside Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman’s near-capacity courtroom prior to the sentencing, Pyne’s father, grandmother, aunt and other relatives gathered alongside with media.

Jeffrey Pyne entered in an orange jail jumpsuit with whit T-shirt underneath. Bailiffs sat him in the jury box, where he glanced in the direction of his father and winked.

Jeffrey Pyne’s attorney, James Champion, walked over and the two shared a discussion prior to Bowman entering the courtroom.

In the hallway, one relative said she came prepared with tissues inside her sleeve.

Despite the unanimous jury verdict, Bernard Pyne refuses to believe his son is a murderer. Bernard Pyne is going home to what remains of his immediate household, Jeffrey Pyne’s little sister and his daughter, Julia.

Jeffrey Pyne broke down and cried when his father read his sister’s victim statement in which she stated she loved her brother, didn’t believe he is guilty and wanted him to come home.

“This was his mother he did this to, and it was so enormously heartless and violent.” said Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski prior to sentencing.

He asked for a sentence between 22.5 and 40 years.

All who read victim statements or for whom victims statements were read — except Ruth Pyne’s sister, Linda Jarvie — believe Pyne is innocent and asked for leniency in his sentencing.

Bowman stated that he received numerous letters and cards weighing in on the trial.

As he prepared to read the sentencing he said 12 jurors found Pyne guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ruth Pyne died in gruesome fashion, beaten until her scalp split, skull cracked and brains were exposed; and then she was stabbed 16 times in a controlled area of her neck, medical examiners said during trial testimony.

Jeffrey Pyne, a former high school valedictorian with a steady job and career aspirations, was not what he seemed, prosecutors said.

He was a young man with deep-seeded resentment toward his mentally-ill mother; he snapped and lied with ease.

Jurors passed up a first-degree murder conviction — which carries a mandatory life sentence — and found Jeffrey Pyne guilty of second-degree murder.

There was no physical evidence connecting Pyne to the crime scene — the family’s garage in Oakland County’s Highland Township — only a case built largely on circumstantial evidence, an alibi exposed as false, suspicious blisters and a peculiar reaction to a son learning of his mother’s murder.

Many of Pyne’s family members continue to stand behind him and proclaim his innocence.

Others feel justice is being served.

“Some justice was served by the guilty verdict,” Linda Jarvie, Ruth Pyne’s sister said they day the jury ruled. “I am deeply saddened by my sister Ruth’s senseless death. This was a heinous crime. Ruth was a victim.”