Jeffrey Pyne, age 22, is a former student of mine and a well-regarded young man from our hometown of Highland, Michigan. It shocked everyone in town last year when Jeff was accused of brutally murdering his mother, Ruth Pyne.
Hundreds of Jeff Pyne’s friends and family believe in his innocence. These supporters include his father, sister, friends, grandparents, and aunts and uncles on both his mother’s father’s sides of the family.
In fact, recently I joined these hundreds of people at a bowling fundraiser for Jeffrey to help with his legal costs. The feeling among those who know him is unanimous: Jeff Pyne does not deserve to be in jail.
Yet he has been in jail for almost a year while prosecutors desperately search for real evidence.
Jeff Pyne’s trial begins on September 10th. It is expected to last 2-5 weeks, and will be covered by local and national media, including Dateline NBC.
Jeffrey Pyne’s trial will be complex
The story and facts behind this situation are complicated. Both sides have admitted that all evidence is circumstantial.
Despite intense questioning, Jeffrey Pyne continues to deny that he killed his mother. He even passed a lie detector test.
The prosecution has planted the seed that Jeff is guilty because he was angry that his mother was mentally ill. In the past, she was arrested and put in jail for trying to choke Jeff.
However, according to family members, Jeff was always trying to help his mother, and never became angry with her. Also, is it fair to assume that he is guilty because his mother was ill?
Will Jeffrey Pyne receive a fair trial?
Information about Jeffrey Pyne’s case has been sheltered from the press and the public, due to the fact that he is the first person in Oakland County to be tried under a new citizen grand jury set up by Prosecutor Jessica Cooper’s office.
Personally, I believe that the citizen grand jury process causes people like Jeffrey to lose many of their basic rights.
My daughter agrees, and is writing her pre-Law thesis about this topic after reading a Detroit Free Press article called “Grand juries: A vital tool or in need of reform?” (That’s another tie-in to education!)
Why am I interested in covering Jeffrey Pyne’s trial?
First of all, I was Jeffrey’s high school journalism teacher as well as his senior advisor.
He is a wonderful kid, and was a mentor to my son at the small Christian school they attended together. He was a valedictorian and peacemaker, and friend to all. He couldn’t lie about his homework without turning bright red. He was studying pre-med to help find a cure for his mother’s illness.
Therefore, I want justice for Jeffrey. I hope to cover the trial on a daily basis, and have asked that Examiner set up a separate column for this and similar trials.
If Examiner doesn’t agree to let me post these stories, I will post them on my own website.
In the meantime, I wanted to get the story started, so decided that it’s related to my education column.
How can you help Jeffrey Pyne get justice?
You will receive regular updates for these stories if you press the “subscribe” button at the top or bottom end of the story, where my bio is.
Also, please help get justice for Jeffrey by sharing or liking any of these stories! There are convenient share buttons at the top of the story.
The more people are aware of the truth, the better chance that Jeffrey has of being set free.
Stay tuned for more information.
Here are the stories about Jeff Pyne’s trial, in order:
Murder trial for Christian school valedictorian
Can impartial jurors be found for U of M student’s murder trial?
Day 2 UM student’s murder trial stresses potential jurors
Jury finally selected for U of M student’s murder trial
Opening argument in murder trial for Christian school valedictorian
Witnesses from Spicer’s begin testimony in trial of U of M student
Neighbors, deputies and others testify at U of M student’s murder trial
Bernie Pyne’s boss, others testify in valedictorian’s murder trial
More cops testify in murder case of UM student
Forensic expert testifies in murder trial of Christian school valedictorian
Forensic experts have no evidence linking UM student to mom’s murder
Neighbors and others tell more during murder trial of UM student
Jurors view emotional police interview during murder trial of UM student
More non-evidence in mom-murder trial of college student
Scientists, cell phone experts testify in UM student’s murder trial
Jury hears about lack of crime lab evidence in Highland student’s murder trial
Former teacher Diane Needham talks about Jeff Pyne’s alibi
Student’s former girlfriend testifies in mom/murder trial
Former girlfriend continues testimony in Jeff Pyne’s murder trial
Juror passes out during gruesome medical testimony in student’s murder trial
Both sides suddenly rest their case in valedictorian murder trial
Second degree murder charge added as closing arguments begin in Pyne trial
Defense gives strong argument in valedictorian murder trial
Jury is out and the waiting begins in student mom/murder trial
Waiting for jury is painful in student mom/murder trial
Jury has reached verdict to be announced at 4:00
Jeff Pyne guilty of second degree murder
Jeff Pyne needs birthday and Christmas wishes
Jeff Pyne needs YOU to write letters to Judge Bowman
Jeff Pyne juror regrets second-degree verdict
Pyne sentenced to 20-60 years for mom’s murder