Closing arguments begin in Jeffrey Pyne murder trial

21-year-old Highland Township man accused of beating, stabbing his mother to death

Pynes story that he had nothing to do with his mothers murder is facing a serious challenge.
Pynes story that he had nothing to do with his mothers murder is facing a serious challenge.

PONTIAC, Mich. – The fate of Jeffrey Pyne, the Highland Township man charged with murdering his mother, will soon be in the hands of an Oakland County jury. The prosecution made its closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

Read more: Man faces life in prison if convicted of mother's murder

The 21-year-old former Christian High School valedictorian and University of Michigan biology student is charged with murdering his mother, 51-year-old Ruth Pyne in their Highland Township home in May 2011.

After twelve days of testimony, Pyne's story that he had nothing to do with his mother's murder is facing a serious challenge.

Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski spent the better part of two hours constructing a complicated circumstantial case against Jeffrey Pyne.  

"A woman was murdered at the hands of her son," said Skrzynski.


--John Skrzynski

Ruth was bi-polar and schizophrenic. She had a history of violent outbursts against her son Jeffrey.  This history is what the prosecution used as the basis for its claim Jeffrey murdered his mother by clubbing her and stabbing her to death in a flash of rage.

"We know, in this case, that there's a two-by-four missing from the garage," said Skrzynski.

The prosecution said Pyne was a skilled liar.  They said Pyne claimed he was planting flowers at the time of the murder and that the blisters on his hands the day of the murder were made by a palate he moved at work.

Pyne's coworkers, however, disputed that.

"They said I just kind of put two and two together, and he said ‘I hope he didn't do something he shouldn't have," said Skrzynski.


Pyne's father Bernie found it difficult to sit and listen.

"This is a tough day and a tough thing to go through," said Pyne. "I know my son and he would never hurt his mother.  He would never harm her."

Pyne's defense has presented no testimony so far.  They say his client didn't do it.

Pyne was initially charged with first-degree murder, but the judge has agreed to allow for a lesser charge of second-degree to be considered if the jury cannot convict on first-degree.  Closing arguments continue Friday morning.


--Ruth Pyne