CEDAR RAPIDS – Jerome Power not only says he didn’t kill his neighbor in 2010 but he provides two other suspects during a sometimes incoherent, ranting, dialogue with himself in a room as investigators watch from outside.
Jurors watched a video of the police interview during Power’s first-degree murder trial, but for about two hours jurors saw a portion where Power was in the room by himself. Part of the time he had a conversation with himself and the other time was spent yelling and cursing at himself and police.
He repeatedly says “Terry” assaulted and killed Doris Bevins, 68, Sept. 19, 2010, over the course of the two hours by himself. He tells the police, who aren’t in the room, to look for Terry. He claims he saw Terry come out of Bevins’ apartment the night he found her lying on the floor.
The trial will continue 9 a.m. Friday in Linn County District Court. The prosecution will finish up its case in the morning and the defense could start in the afternoon.
Follow Reporter Trish Mehaffey’s live coverage from the courtroom at www.thegazette.com.
Terry is a real person but police testified he wasn’t involved in this case and was never a suspect.
Initially in the video, Power seems to be chastising himself but then he abruptly changes and starts accusing a man who ran out the backdoor of Bevins’ apartment.
He pounds on the desk, kicks chairs, yells, curses and whispers at times. Power even claims he called 911 to get help for Bevins when he found her.
Cedar Rapids Police Investigator Martin DeVore testified there was no back door to Bevins’ apartment and there’s no record that Power called 911. The only person that called 911 about Bevins is her friend Philip Bemer, who testified Wednesday.
Power’s story changes and evolves over the video but basically he accuses Terry of killing Bevins, saying they had some argument over a puppy Terry was keeping in the basement. Power said this man had been evicted and he was homeless living in the basement.
“He was talking about it all week,” Power said in the video. “I told him to let it go. I’m here because of him.”
Power’s behavior and emotions seem to heighten the longer he’s by himself in the room. He starts pacing around and clapping his hands as he goes over and over what happened that night. It almost appears as if he’s talking to someone else at some point but he’s in the room alone.
“I just came over and I said ‘Look’….I walk in and I find her there and he walked past me,” Power said. “Terry, he’s about 50 some, 5’ 8”, rides a Mongoose bike. That’s who you need to be looking for.”
When the investigators finally come into the room, Power starts telling his version of what happened that night – mostly what he was saying to himself. They have to stop him so they can read him his rights.
Power said Bevins asked him to come over and pump up her air mattress and when he went over to her apartment he saw Terry leaving. The door was open and he went in and saw her lying on the floor. He tried to give her CPR and then hears someone pounding on the door and doesn’t realize it’s the police.
Power said the police rush in and immediately take him down on the ground before he had a chance to say anything. He said he tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen.
Several officers testified they knocked, pounded on the door for about four minutes and repeatedly identify themselves before having to break out a window pane to get in the locked apartment.
The investigators then tell Power they are going to check on Bevins and try to talk to her about what happened. She was still alive at this point.
Power, after they leave starts talking to himself again and implicates another man he claims was hanging out across the street that night.
DeVore testified that Power wrote him a letter in 2011 and implicates a man in Bevins’ death. Power said he remembered seeing this man outside Bevins’ apartment that night and recognized him when he was arrested and his photo was in The Gazette.
Power in the letter says this man looks like Terry, DeVore said. DeVore said there’s no resemblance of this man to Terry.
In other testimony, a criminalist with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation testified about DNA evidence. There wasn’t any DNA that proved Power was the killer.
Dr. John Thompson, a state medical examiner and forensic pathologist, also testified. He said the manner of death was homicide and the cause of death was ligature strangulation, which means something was tied around Bevins’ neck to strangle her. All of her injuries were consistent with ligature strangulation.
Police testified Wednesday there was pajama pants tightly tied around Bevins’ neck when they found her unconscious that night.