Hung Jury in Pilkinton Murder Trial

posted in: Turner News | 10


After two days into the trial of the 7-month old murder case of 62-year old Turner County man Morris Pilkinton Jr., preparations for closing arguments began around 3 P.M. Wednesday afternoon. The victim’s wife, Debra Pilkinton was indicted for murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The shooting occurred on the evening of March 1, 2013 at the Pilkinton’s Hwy 32 East home in Sycamore.

Photo
D. Pilkinton PHOTO/ TCSO

On Wednesday, GBI forensic Pathologist Dr. Maryanne Gaffney-Kraft described in detail her findings in Mr. Pilkinton’s autopsy and X-ray to the jury of seven men and five women. She determined that the gun used to shoot Mr. Pilkinton in the left side of his temple was fired from approximately three feet away or more. She also described abrasions and bruising on Mr. Pilkinton’s hands which she determined likely occurred within four hours prior to his death.

Siblings Kelly and Christy Pilkinton were among witnesses questioned in court. Kelly Pilkinton was living at the Pilkinton residence and present when the shooting occurred.

According to the testimony given by Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester Wednesday, the first deputy to arrive on scene reports Debra Pilkinton stated to him she shot her husband. Apparently she also stated she was tired of the abuse from Mr. Pilkinton.

Kelly testified she heard the shot from another room, burst through her parents’ bedroom door and witnessed her mother standing beside the bed with a gun. Mr. Pilkinton was lying on the bed unresponsive. Kelly made the call to 911.

Debra Pilkinton’s attorney, Cheryle T. Bryan, argued that Kelly should have also been treated as a suspect suggesting Mrs. Pilkinton may have confessed to protect her daughter; argument that evening had escalated at the home between Mr. Pilkinton and Kelly.

Christy testified Kelly had called their older sister, Stacy; Christy said she heard Kelly on speakerphone threaten to kill their father during the heated argument. Ms. Bryan told the jury in closing arguments, ” Thirty minutes later, he was dead.” She told jurors there was no evidence to put the gun in Debra Pilkinton’s hand. “You’ve got reasonable doubt,” she told them.

In closing argument, the prosecution played the E-911 recording of the call from Kelly Pilkinton. The state’s argument included describing the demeanor of both women, Mrs. Pilkinton’s being cold while Kelly was distraught, even trying to shake her father to get a response. Mrs. Pilkinton confessed, the state argued, only changing her testimony after being in jail two and a half days.

Mrs. Pilkinton was taken into custody from the scene that evening to the Turner County Jail where she remained until April 12th. She was released on bond with conditions. She was to stay with her oldest daughter and not return to her home. The daughter contacted law enforcement however when Mrs. Pilkinton left her home April 29th. Authorities located Mrs Pilkinton’s vehicle behind her Sycamore residence. She was taken into custody the following morning as the bond was revoked.

The jury had not reached a verdict as of 7 P.M Wednesday night. Apparently Judge Melanie Cross had to address jury members about shouting and the noise level heard from the jury room. They were dismissed and deliberations continued Thursday morning along with an apology from the jury to the court regarding the noise.

At approximately 11 A.M. the jury requested to listen again to the E-911 call made by Kelly Pilkinton the night of the murder.

A half hour later, the jury re-entered the courtroom advising Judge Cross they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

The Judge asked  jurors to return for further deliberations and review of evidence in hopes they may reach a unanimous verdict.

During the trial it was repeatedly said by family members that the Pilkinton family is close despite common arguments fueled by alcohol. It was evident this is true in the courtroom. Mrs. Pilkinton was allowed to visit with her family and friends present while deliberations carried on Thursday. A far different woman than that appearing in her mugshot joined in the laughter and conversation with daughters Kelly and Christy, even given the circumstances.

Just after noon Thursday, the jury returned but remained at 11 -1, therefore Judge Cross ruled a hung jury in the murder trial. Mrs. Pilkinton,60, remains jailed likely until another trial is scheduled. She did not take the stand in trial.

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10 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I, personally, do not think that Mrs Debra is guilty of this murder. For the ones that knew Mrs Debra and MB they know this isn’t possible not even the least little bit! I do believe, however, that Mrs Debra would have taken the blame for her daughter. Kelly, only because without MB she feels as tho she has nothing. MB was Mrs Debra’s world despite the few problems brought to their life and relationship consistently by other family member(s). MB only wanted his children to be as he raised them and that was to work for what you have or what you ever will have, MB was an honest hard working man and definitely could not stand a thief whether it was his own being stolen or the next persons. Mrs Debra stood behind MB 100% but knew it was putting a damper on their relationship with certain circumstances that she was aware of but could do nothing about. So, she as a Mother and a Wife played both the infield and outfield and is now stuck with a charge that only the guilty should face. I pray that the day comes and Mrs Debra is released back into the population and take the guilty and serve them their sentence. Mrs Debra and MB deserved a lot better than what they were dealt by a certain few and now MB will never get to live the peaceful life he always worked so hard towards all his life. Mrs Debra may get freed but she will never live her peaceful life either. MB was her peace and way maker, now due to selfishness and stupidity Mrs Debra feels as tho jail will be her best bet. First and last thought of the whole ordeal, when first hearing of this tragic news, I knew in my heart that Mrs Debra was innocent and that if she did confess it was only to cover for another and because she feels as tho she can’t live on without him. They experienced true, loving, caring and an intimate love til MB’s dying day.Mrs Debra is scared to face this world alone without him because she has never had too. But I would rather see Mrs Debra face this hateful, cruel, dangerous world alone and show MB that she at least gave it her best shot and live life as happily as possible til her dying day. MB would want nothing more than for her to take what he taught her and instilled in her for all those years and for her to make the best of the rest of her life.

  2. Anonymous

    For Stacy and Christy, my heart hurts for you. Losing a Father like that and a Mother too all at once. Just stand behind your Mother. Cheyenne and Monica to those beautiful great grands share with them all the great memories and pictures as tho they never missed a beat of their lil lives. Instill in them the greatness that you know they both would have shared. They both, Granny and MB would be so proud of you both!! MB shines down that handsome, warm and loving smile everyday to them. MB always was a smiling man with plenty of good stories to tell and Granny always had a good meal cooked for her family and anyone else that darted her door. They both welcomed many in to their home family or not, with a loving and kind heart, listening ears and a few words of wisdom as they turned to leave. I miss the both of them daily and wish MB was still here to tell his stories and go on hunting and fishing trips. I also miss Granny always being the Mother Hurbert she was and handling things while the men folk done their thing and cooking them good ole country home cooked meals. Granny always did make me laugh at some of the things she would say or do. I would give anything just to see them smile just one more time. Even when I had noone I always knew, I have MB and Debra, no matter what. They were always there and never judged me and always opened their home to me and sat me down to a table full of that good ol cooking. If I was upset, MB shot it to me straight, whether it hurt or not, but he never led me wrong and Mrs Debra always had that shoulder for me to cry on and her shirt to wipe my tears, she might would shed a tear of two with me, but that only let me know, she truly cared. I hate to see Mrs Debra spend her dying days in jail when she is innocent. If God has ever heard me I pray he hears my prayer for her release and put the right one behind bars. MB would only want the guilty one to spend their time. I love and miss you both, MB and Mrs Debra (Granny) and can’t wait til I see you both again someday! :) <3 Granny you can do this, MB told me so!!!

  3. Anonymous

    You are all idiots!

  4. Anonymous

    I don’t agree with another trial as the results will probibly be the same. Two trials and 11 people both times said not guilty! Quit wasting tax dollars on the wrong person. I don’t think this lady did it!! I could understand if the outcome was the oppisite but come on Mr. DA you are smarter than that……try putting the right one in jail.

  5. Anonymous

    Granny didn’t do it and should not be retried.She should be allowed to return and grieve with her loved ones.

  6. Anonymous

    It’s a shame. Kelly knows she shot and killed her Father. Just as she stold from her family, neighbors and stores, she is now stealing her Mother’s freedom. It’s a shame that they were great parents and she, Kelly, turned into a thieving, no good, lying murderer of her own Father. Kelly, you will soon get what all you deserve. I wish your mom could be strong and tell the truth. You should rot in hell for all the pain you have caused this family. Everyone that knows the real you, knows just how low down you are. Fess up and set your Mother free.

  7. Anonymous

    I think Kelly should not be slandered in order to show support for granny. I love all the Pilkintons! MB. Granny Debra. Christy. And mostly Kelly who by the way worshiped her daddy. They had a special close bond and MB was always proud of kelly. She has a big heart and they enjoyed hunting and fishing together. Jelly would never NEVER hurt a soul even while protecting herself or loved ones… Kelly has never been a thief she has the highest moral value of anyone in that family and has always been the passive peacekeeper. I trust her with all of my being and none of you know how bad she has it or feel her pain. She lost her best friend and her hero in a brutal manner and she supported her mother as she went thru this legal circus. None of you have the right to slander Kelly or form opinions as none of you were there. Kelly has the right to grieve for her father and pray for her mom’s freedom. But she should not have to defend herself!!!! Taking up for granny is fine but don’t dare tell lies about Kelly and be a coward by remaining anonymous on your public post!!!!

  8. Anonymous

    And I think you hit your head, are in it with her, or obviously do not know her in the least. There is proof her Kelly’s thefts and violent behavior. Check out the police reports and arrest records. It’s very easy to search her name in The Tifton Gazette.

  9. How can you call others a coward for remaining anonymous when you have done the same?

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