BLOOMINGTON — Whoever killed Pam Zimmerman did not force their way into her Bloomington office, but stayed around after the attack to move furniture in search of shell casings from the bullets that fatally wounded her, according to details of the crime scene disclosed in new court filings in the murder case against her ex-husband.
Kirk Zimmerman is charged with killing his former spouse in November 2014 in her east side Bloomington office where she worked as a financial planner and certified public accountant.
In a series of newly-filed motions, defense lawyer John Rogers has challenged portions of the state's potential evidence against the 58-year-old suspect, including the results of gun shot residue tests and statements Zimmerman made to police hours after his ex-wife was found.
A search warrant request from Bloomington Police Detective Michael Johnson three months after the murder — filed as part of a defense motion — reveals new details of what led police to check on the victim and what two of Pam Zimmerman's friends found when they arrived at her office.
One of Pam Zimmerman's neighbors, Julie Koh, contacted police on Nov. 4, 2014 after she received a call from the victim's fiance, Scott Baldwin, who was concerned that he was unable to reach her by phone from his home in the Chicago area.
Zimmerman's teenage children told Koh that their mother had not come home the previous night, according to the court documents, and one of Zimmerman's daughters used a GPS application on her cell phone to search for her mother's phone. Police located the phone in a pile of leaves near Felton Place and Robinson Street.
In the meantime, Koh went to Zimmerman's office at 2103 E. Washington St. and found the victim's car in the parking lot. Kol met Ina Hess, the victim's office manager, and the two went inside to find the light off and blinds closed, according to the warrant filing that is part of the newly-filed defense motions.
The two women found Pam Zimmerman, 53, lying on the floor behind the reception desk, still dressed in the clothes she was wearing when Hess left work at 4:30 p.m. the previous day, Johnson stated in an affidavit filed with the search warrant.
Zimmerman had suffered four separate gunshot wounds — one in the head, two in the torso, including one in the back, and one in the arm.
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Police think the killer spent some time after the shooting looking for shell casings and may have found three of the four, state the court documents. The detective noted that only one 9 mm shell casing was found and one bullet was recovered from the back of the chair in the reception area.
The phone line in the reception area also had been cut.
An analysis of Pam Zimmerman's cell phone by Bloomington police indicates the device was removed from her office around 6:15 p.m. — 45 minutes after a meeting with her final client of the day, narrowing the time of death to sometime between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. Nov. 3, according to police.
Missing along with her phone and wallet were two handsets for the office telephone and a desktop calendar. The handsets were later found several blocks away near Grove Street and Fairview Drive. The search request stated that what appeared to be small blood stains were found near an unlocked rear door of the office.
Koh and other neighbors interviewed by police in the days after the murder described a rocky end to a troubled marriage between the Zimmermans. One woman recalled that Kirk Zimmerman had tried to buy a home directly behind his ex-wife, but ended up moving two blocks away when the purchase fell through, according to information contained in the search warrant.
The tense relationship is expected to be a key element of the state's case against Zimmerman, a former State Farm systems worker. The couple sparred after the divorce was finalized over financial issues related to expenses for their children. Court records filed by the state allege that Zimmerman made insulting remarks about his former spouse, causing her to tell friends she feared for her safety.
Pam Zimmerman and Baldwin met on an online dating site in August 2014 and became engaged two months later. She posted their plan to marry on social media on Nov. 1, 2014 — two days before she was killed.
Baldwin told detectives he exchanged text messages with her around 1:25 p.m. on Nov. 3, but received no reply to messages he sent at 9 p.m. and several times later that night.