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Pitman Murder Trial : Day 4

The fourth day of the murder trial of Keokuk resident Adam Pitman again wrapped up early due to just one witness being on the docket.

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.


Assistant State's Attorney Bruce McDonald announced at the end of the day on Wednesday that he had just one more witness to call, but the individual would not be available until Monday.

Judge Danielson ruled that instead of delaying the trial, the defense would be able to call a witness on Friday and the prosecution would resume its case next week.

The defense used the opportunity to call an expert witness, Dr. Paul Perry, who is a professor in the College of Pharmacy at Touro University in California.  He also spent years at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Dr. Perry interviewed Adam Pitman, 24, of Keokuk roughly three weeks ago.  Pitman is accused of killing his mother, Rosa Pitman, 46, in her Keokuk home in the early morning hours of August 30, 2011.

Perry said that Adam Pitman is a "textbook case of bath-salt intoxication" based on his interview and a review of certain court documents.

Perry says Pitman told him after snorting a packet of bath-salt just hours before his mother's death, he "thought he head and body would explode"  and that it was "a blast of energy" that caused him "to lose track of time."

Pitman told Perry the next thing he remembered after taking the bath-salt was standing in the doorway to his mother's bedroom holding the knife.  Perry says Pitman thought he "could have been there for hours."

Perry says bath-salts can have a mental and physical affect on an individual.  He says the delusions and paranoia can go away in about 4-6 hours while the associated muscle spasms can last much longer.

Perry says in his opinion, even though Pitman voluntarily snorted the bath-salts, he was involuntarily intoxicated, meaning his reaction to the drug was many times greater than anticipated.

He testified that Pitman was aware of the action he was taking in killing his mother and he was acting with purpose in mind.  Dr. Perry says he did not do it voluntarily, though, due to the influence of bath-salts.

The prosecution questioned Perry about his involvement and knowledge of the case during cross-examination.  Assistant County Attorney Bruce McDonald focused on whether Perry followed up on any of the information provided by Pitman during their recent interview.

McDonald also questioned Pitman's ability to recall information for the Division of Criminal Investigation on August 30, 2011 about the murder if intoxicated.

Judge Cynthia Danielson dismissed the jury for the weekend at about 11:45 Friday morning.  She says her goal is for closing arguments to get underway Monday afternoon.

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