AUGUSTA, Maine — The 38-year-old man charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death last week allegedly told his roommate he did so while blacked out after catching her on the phone with another man, according to an affidavit filed with Kennebec County Superior Court.
Justin Pillsbury was arrested and charged with murder on Friday, Nov. 15, two days after his girlfriend, 24-year-old Jillian Jones, was found dead in the bathroom of the Augusta apartment where the two were staying. An autopsy revealed Jones died from the stab wounds.
Police said when they arrived at the scene, Jones had cuts under her chin, on her neck and on her left ear.
Pillsbury had been hospitalized with his own stab wounds, which police say were self-inflicted. He was arrested and interviewed Friday after he was released from the hospital. During that interview, Pillsbury confessed to killing Jones, according to state police Detective Christopher Tremblay, who conducted the interview.
Pillsbury made his first court appearance Monday.
An affidavit filed by Tremblay spelled out the state’s case against Pillsbury. Much of the evidence came from an interview of Michael St. Pierre, who lived in the Crosby Street apartment where Pillsbury and Jones had been staying.
According to the affidavit, St. Pierre told an Augusta Police Department detective that he returned home from a local soup kitchen in the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 13. The door was locked, and when he knocked, Pillsbury let him inside.
St. Pierre “saw blood everywhere” and quickly found Jones in the bathroom, according to the affidavit.
“He checked for a pulse but did not feel one,” Tremblay wrote. “Pillsbury told St. Pierre that he caught Jones talking to another man on the phone and didn’t like that and blacked out. Pillsbury told St. Pierre that he ‘screwed up.’”
Pillsbury also told St. Pierre that he wanted to kill himself and cut himself with a dull knife, police said. During his interview, St. Pierre told police that he sharpened the knife for Pillsbury, who began cutting himself again and told him to leave the apartment and not call the police.
Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, who is prosecuting the case against Pillsbury, did not comment on why St. Pierre would have sharpened the knife, but said the affidavit was accurate.
St. Pierre then went into another apartment in the building and called 911 around 8 p.m. When police arrived, they found Jones and Pillsbury alone in the apartment.
A neighbor also interviewed by police told a detective that she heard arguing coming from inside St. Pierre’s apartment but only saw Jones and Pillsbury inside. She also said she heard Jones scream from inside the apartment and saw her get pushed up against a window.
When Pillsbury appeared in Kennebec County Superior Court on Monday, he limped as he walked and had bandages covering his neck, right forearm and hand. He told Justice Michaela Murphy he understood the murder charge.
If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 25 years, with the possibility of life in prison and without the chance of parole. He is being held without bail.
The defendant is represented by Augusta lawyers James Lawley and Roger Katz, who is also a Republican state senator.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.