AUGUSTA — The man accused in the 2013 stabbing death of Jillian T. Jones in Augusta told state police two days after the stabbing that he and Jones were fighting over her cellphone because he suspected she was communicating with another man.

Jurors on Wednesday heard about 90 minutes of a recorded interview with Justin Pillsbury, who is accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in November 2013 in an Augusta apartment.

“I think I might have stabbed her. I think I might have pushed her in the sink or stabbed her,” Pillsbury tells police from his hospital bed two days after Jones was stabbed to death.

“It’s all so foggy and stupid. It wasn’t like over anything,” he says in the recorded interview. “I think I might have stabbed her before she went in the bathroom.”

Jurors listened to the recording on the third day of the trial of Pillsbury, now 41, who is accused of killing Jones in a Crosby Street apartment.

“I remember her saying, ‘Keep your hands off me,'” Pillsbury says, telling police he thought he might have stabbed her in the throat or neck. The two were fighting over her cellphone. He suspected she was communicating with another man and wanted her to unlock it so he could check. She had refused.


Pillsbury is expected to testify in his own defense Thursday, and Justice Michaela Murphy told jurors she anticipated they would be deliberating by late morning or early Thursday afternoon.

When the interview was conducted, Pillsbury was hospitalized for treatment for self-inflicted wounds to his neck in an apparent attempt to commit suicide after Jones’ death.

The Nov. 15, 2013, interview by Maine State Police Detectives Christopher Tremblay and Jonah O’Roak was played as Tremblay was on the witness stand.

At one point, Tremblay asks Pillsbury if he had intended to kill her.

“I guess so,” Pillsbury responds.

He also says, “I just don’t understand what —” then his voice trails off. “She was the best woman I ever met in my life.”


The audio recording was the final item in the prosecution’s presentation of evidence Wednesday, and Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber told the judge that the state was resting its case.

Immediately after that, Justice Michaela Murphy denied a defense motion for acquittal, saying that all three alternative forms of the murder charge — intentional, knowing and depraved indifference — would be sent to the jury.

The defense portion of the case began about 2 p.m. Wednesday when attorney Stephen Smith questioned Deputy Nathan McNally, of the Kennebec Sheriff’s Office, about a response to a 911 call in July 2013 that led him to Jones, whom he found at Neck and River roads in Benton.

McNally said that while his memory of that event was somewhat hazy because it was almost three years ago, he recalled Jones being highly intoxicated and unreasonable.

“Verbally she was pretty fixated on her phone that was missing,” McNally testified.

Jurors heard from Dr. Jonathan Adler, a medical examiner called by the defense, who said stab wounds on Pillsbury’s forearm, index finger and eyebrow were consistent with defensive wounds. He said the series of almost parallel knife wounds on Pillsbury’s neck were “consistent and suggestive of these being self-inflicted.”


Adler said he studied photos plus the report by Dr. Margaret Greenwald, who was Maine’s chief medical examiner when she did the autopsy on Jones’ body.

Greenwald had offered similar opinions on Pillsbury’s injuries in her testimony Monday.

On the recording played in court on Wednesday, Pillsbury’s voice is soft and hoarse, and his words are halting, sometimes with long pauses between them, and he can be heard quietly sobbing at one point.

The judge earlier denied a defense motion to try to keep that recording from being used at the trial.

An attorney for Pillsbury said Pillsbury acted in self-defense after Jones, 24, came after him with a knife in an attempt to retrieve the cellphone he had taken from her. The former chief medical examiner for the state testified that Jones was stabbed 12 times, and that Pillsbury too had been cut.

Four blood-covered knives were found, three of them with Pillsbury’s DNA on them and one with a mixture of DNA from both of them, forensic scientists testified.


Pillsbury was jealous of Jones and believed she was communicating with another man, according to testimony Tuesday by Michael St. Pierre, in whose apartment police found Pillsbury face down and bleeding heavily in the kitchen area and Jones dead on the bathroom floor.

Images of the apartment, with bloodstained walls, doors, floors and cabinets, have been shown to the jury and displayed on large monitors in the courtroom at the Capital Judicial Center.

On the audio recording, Pillsbury answers questions about himself, telling detectives he lived in the Augusta area until he was 14, went to school in Fairfield, graduating from high school in 1993, then taking two years off before entering the University of Maine, where he spent two years. He also spent five years in the Maine Army National Guard, he said, and was discharged in 2012.

He talked about having custody of his two sons, then in middle school, and their mother picking them up in October 2013 because she did not approve of him living with Jones. Pillsbury said he didn’t object at the time because he had been working 80 hours a week as a flagger on one of the natural gas pipeline installation projects in the Augusta area.

On the day of the stabbing, he said he got up at 6 a.m.; went to Waterville with Jones, who was attending Empire Beauty School there; then stayed home rather than go to work because his paycheck had not come in as expected.

Pillsbury told them he spent time on the computer and started drinking later in the day than was usual.


“Over the last month I was drinking a little more excessively than I usually do,” he says. “I was depressed over some things.”

He told detective he was drinking 100 proof vodka that day, and that the altercation about Jones’ phone began after Michael St. Pierre, in whose apartment they were staying, left to pick up a holiday food package from a food bank in Gardiner.

St. Pierre and others testified Tuesday that it was just after 6:30 p.m. that day.

St. Pierre returned about 7:30 p.m. to find Jones dead and Pillsbury trying to stab himself in the neck, St. Pierre had said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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