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Pitman Murder Trial : Day 2

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Adam Pitman

The murder trial of Keokuk resident Adam Pitman has concluded its second day.

Judge Cynthia Danielson is presiding over the case at the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk.

Pitman is accused of killing his mother, Rosa Pitman, in her home in the early morning hours of August 30, 2011.  He allegedly confessed to the crime after being pulled over for a traffic violation several hours later.

1st Degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Adam Pitman was just 23 when he was arrested last August.  He turned 24 just last month, but when he entered the courtroom, he looked even younger.

He was clean shaven and his hair was cut into a flat top.  His light blue polo shirt was tucked into a pair of grey dockers slacks that hung down to his white tennis shoes.

During several breaks in the proceedings, Pitman spoke to and made friendly gestures at several audience members.


The State of Iowa called nine witnesses during Day 2 of the trial.

Bruce Gustafson - Captain in the Fort Madison Police Department

Gustafson testified to his involvement in the case.  He served as security when Pitman was taken to Fort Madison Community Hospital after a traffic violation.  Gustafson said Pitman "was quiet and reserved" adding that he "tried to stay far enough away (from Pitman) to not pressure (him) from a uniform."  Gustafson also rode in the back of the ambulance that transported Pitman from FMCH to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City. 

Rose Pohlpeter - EMT with Lee County EMS

Pohlpeter was nearing the end of her shift on the morning of August 30, 2011 when she and her partner got the call about a traffic stop in Fort Madison.  She accompanied Adam Pitman to Fort Madison Community Hospital and then rode in the ambulance with him to Iowa City.  While Pohlpeter was checking Pitman's vital signs, he made several comments to her, which she wrote down.  The comments include "Sorry, I was a jerk but I am in one hell of a position," and "I am upset, I did a bunch of bad drugs that made me snap and kill my mom while she slept."

Susan Francis - Friend of Rosa Pitman and Godmother of Adam Pitman

Francis testified about her long-term relationship with Rosa and Adam Pitman.  Francis says she had been friends with Rosa for years and was with her on August 29, 2011, the day before Rosa died.  Francis says Rosa gave Adam some money before the two women went to Wal-Mart to do some shopping.  Francis also testified about Adam Pitman's history with drug abuse.  She did say, though, upon learning of Rosa's death that "I could not believe (Adam) would have ever done anything to Rosa."

John Helenthal - Employee at Concept Strange (retail shop) on August 29, 2011

Helenthal testified that he was working at a retail shop in Keokuk known as Concept Strange on August 29, 2011.  He said Pitman came in that afternoon and purchased two synthetic substances believed to be similar in nature to bath salts.  Helenthal did say a time-stamp on a security camera from the store was inaccurate by a couple of hours, based on a chart of sales he kept.

Barb Smidt - Vice President of Retail Sales at 1st Community Bank in Keokuk

Smidt testified about a couple of bank transactions made regarding Rosa Pitman's account on August 29 and 30, 2011.

Allen Smith - Friend of Rosa Pitman

Smith testified about his 20+ year friendship with Rosa Pitman and how they spent some time together on August 29, 2011.  Smith says Rosa told him "she wanted to go relieve stress" so they went to the casino in LaGrange, MO.\

Richard Rahn - Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assigned to the case.

Rahn testified about his involvement in the case and why the Division of Criminal Investigation got involved.   He said, as part of the investigation, he and representatives of the Keokuk Police Department found a fingernail and an earring in Rosa Pitman's bedroom after an autopsy was conducted.  Rahn also mentioned the location of a receipt from Walmart that confirmed a statement from Adam Pitman that he was at Walmart at about 6:30 P.M. on August 29, 2011.

Britney Burnett - Asset Protection Manager at the Wal-Mart in Keokuk

Burnett testified about providing the Keokuk Police Department with video surveillance tape from August 29, 2011 that showed Adam Pitman briefly entering and exiting the building.

Matthew George - Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation

George's testimony lasted more than two hours.  It included an 85-minute recording of an interview conducted by George and a fellow agent with Adam Pitman in Iowa City.  George testified that Pitman understood the questions and spoke in a cogent manner during the interview.  George characterized Pitman as being intelligent with his selection of words during the interview showing education.  George said there was no indication that Pitman was hungry.  During the recorded interview, which was conducted in two parts, George said Pitman admitted to killing his mother in a premeditated manner.

Day 3 of Adam Pitman's murder trial is scheduled to get underway at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 12.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.