AUGUSTA — Justin Pillsbury’s March 2016 conviction for murdering Jillian Jones will stand.

Pillsbury, now 42, had appealed the conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which heard oral arguments in the case less than a month ago, in his bid for a new trial.

Jones, 24, died of stab wounds Nov. 13, 2013, in an apartment in Augusta.

Attorney Caleb Gannon argued last month that Pillsbury was entitled to a new trial because statements made by the prosecutor “pandered to sympathy, prejudice and bias of the jury.” A similar argument was rejected by the trial judge, Justice Michaela Murphy.

Gannon argued that a reference at trial to a “green-eyed monster” by Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber was prosecutorial misconduct and encouraged jurors to convict Pillsbury “on something other than the evidence.”

The unanimous decision, authored by Associate Justice Donald Alexander and published Thursday, says the “prosecutor said nothing that constituted prosecutorial misconduct” and that Pillsbury received a fair trial.

“A prosecutor may use ‘wit, satire, invective and imaginative illustration in arguing the state’s case,’ and may present an analysis of the evidence in opening or closing statements ‘with vigor and zeal’ as long as those statements do not invite the jury to make its decision based on something other than the evidence,” Alexander wrote.

Macomber had argued against a new trial.

Gannon also appealed on the basis that allowing evidence from a prior dispute between Pillsbury and Jones was improper.

The Law Court decided otherwise, with Alexander writing that “the testimony regarding Pillsbury’s prior assault of the victim as a result of his jealousy was admissible because it went to his motive and intent, and to the relationship between Pillsbury and the victim.”

Jones’ body was found slumped against the bathroom wall in the Crosby Street apartment of Michael St. Pierre. Pillsbury and Jones, who grew up in Bingham and was attending cosmetology school in Waterville, had been staying with St. Pierre so Pillsbury could be closer to his job in Augusta.

At trial, Pillsbury testified he had acted in self-defense. He said Jones picked up a knife and threatened him after he refused to return her phone to her.

Pillsbury told investigators he wanted the code to unlock her phone because he believed she was communicating with another man.

After Jones’ death, Pillsbury stabbed himself in the neck in an apparent suicide attempt.

St. Pierre called 911 to say two people were dead after coming home to find blood all over his apartment.

Pillsbury, who was taken to the hospital by ambulance, talked to detectives who interviewed him in his hospital bed and told them that he had killed his girlfriend. He later sought unsuccessfully to keep that 90-minute recording out of his trial.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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