The trial of a former valedictorian accused of killing his mentally ill mother began Friday with jurors hearing hysterical 911 calls and seeing graphic photos.
Prosecutors played a recording of Ruth Pyne's husband calling 911 after her dead body was discovered in the garage of the family's Michigan home in May 2011.
"She's laying in the garage," Bernard Pyne told the operator, according to ABC News. "There's blood everywhere. I don't know what's going on."
In the background, the couple's 10-year-old daughter who found her mother can be heard crying, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Jeffrey Pyne, now 22, stands accused of killing his mother by stabbing her 16 times in the neck and hitting her repeatedly in the back of the head.
To the outside world, Pyne is an unlikely suspect. He was class valedictorian at the private Christian academy he attended near their Highland Township home. He was also a star athlete and good neighbor, known for helping the elderly. At the time of his mother's murder, he was a biology student at the University of Michigan.
Jeffrey had a tumultuous relationship with his mother. Ruth, 51, was bipolar and prone to violent outbursts that she directed at her son. She was hospitalized repeatedly since 1998, according to court documents. In 2010, she spent two weeks in jail for trying to strangle her son.
A neighbor testified that Bernard had confided that he might divorce his wife and that there was trouble controlling her when she wouldn't take her medications, WXYZ reported.
Prosecutors showed jurors photos of blisters on Jeffrey's hands shortly after his mother's death. He claimed that he got them at work from throwing a shipping pallet, but his boss, a farmer named William Cartwright, testified that they "seemed odd," given the kind of work he does on the orchard and farm market.
Prosecutors contend that Jeffrey's gnarled hands came from repeatedly swinging the murder weapon. They believe he snapped after years of living with his mother's mental illness.
Five months after her death he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He's been jailed without bond since then.
But Bernard Pyne believes that his son is innocent and Jeffrey Pyne's lawyers said that the wrong man is on trial. Many neighors are also supportive of the young man and have thrown fundraisers to help pay for his defense.
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