AUGUSTA — Justin G. Pillsbury bent down to reach the microphone on the table in front of him as he told the judge on Wednesday his plea was “not guilty” to the charge of murdering his girlfriend and roommate Jillian Jones in their Augusta apartment last November.
Pillsbury, 39, had been indicted by a grand jury in Kennebec County on Jan. 22 on three alternative forms of murder: intentional or knowing or depraved indifference.
At his arraignment early Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court, Justice Michaela Murphy told him a conviction on the charge carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of release.
Pillsbury, a tall man standing with hands and ankles shackled, told her he understood both the charge and the penalty.
Murphy said Pillsbury would continue to be held without bail, and both the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Deb Cashman and Pillsbury’s attorney, James T. Lawley, agreed.
Cashman also said she was filing a motion in the case to see expert reports, and the judge said she also understood the state was seeking medical records of the defendant from his treatment at MaineGeneral Medical Center shortly after Jones’ death.
Investigators say Pillsbury tried to kill himself by stabbing himself in the neck Nov. 13, 2013, shortly after he killed Jones. Interviews with neighbors and others indicated Pillsbury was jealous because Jones had talked to another man on the phone.
A third roommate, Michael St. Pierre, discovered the body of Jones, 24, in the apartment’s bathroom that night and called emergency responders, saying he thought two people were dead, according to transcripts from that call.
Four people, apparently Jones’ friends or relatives, sat on a bench in the courtroom with the victim/witness advocate for the state to watch the hearing. However, they indicated they did not want to talk to a reporter.
They watched Pillsbury closely until he was escorted by sheriff’s deputies from the courtroom. Pillsbury did not have the bandages on this neck that he had when he was in court in November to be advised of the charge.
Several other people seated apart from the others also watched the hearing and spoke to Lawley in the courtroom before and after the hearing. “His family are standing by him,” Lawley said.
Afterward Wednesday’s hearing, Lawley said he could not comment on the substance of the case.
However, he said he was awaiting discovery material from the state.
“This happened in November and it will be another month until we receive the autopsy results and the forensic evidence, which is obviously very frustrating,” he said.
Lawley said he would be opposing the state’s attempt to get records of Pillsbury’s medical treatment and expected a hearing on that issue.