BLOOMINGTON — Two men who knew Pam Zimmerman denied Monday having any role in her 2014 shooting death.
Eldon Whitlow, who was the victim’s final client at her financial services business, and her fiancé Scott Baldwin testified at the murder trial of Kirk Zimmerman, the victim’s ex-husband. The defendant is accused of shooting Pam Zimmerman four times as she sat behind the reception desk of her office on Bloomington’s east side.
Whitlow told the jury he left Zimmerman’s office around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2014, after an hourlong meeting. He met with Bloomington police, who later seized his 9 mm handgun, the same type of weapon used in the shooting. An examination of the gun showed it was not used to fire the rounds that killed Zimmerman.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Rigdon concluded his questioning of Whitlow by asking, “Did you kill Pam Zimmerman?”
Whitlow responded, “No, I didn’t.”
A similar question and answer were exchanged between the prosecutor and Baldwin. The Roselle man said he became increasingly concerned Nov. 3 when his fiancee did not respond to several text messages.
"It was out of character for us not to talk or to text," Baldwin told the jury.
The next morning, Baldwin called Pam Zimmerman's neighbor and close friend Julie Koh, who went first to the victim's home and then to the office where her body was found.
Baldwin initially denied having a sexual relationship with another woman during the three months he was dating Zimmerman. He and Pam Zimmerman became engaged two days before she was killed.
During his cross-examination by defense lawyer John Rogers, Baldwin acknowledged that text messages he exchanged with the second woman contained descriptions of sexual contact. Rogers also elicited admissions from Baldwin about several other women he had met through an online dating service.
In his questioning of Whitlow and Baldwin, Rogers pointed out that both men were alone for periods of time during the early evening hours of Nov. 3 when authorities estimate Pam Zimmerman was killed.
The defense lawyer also drew distinctions between how Bloomington police treated Whitlow and Baldwin and how Kirk Zimmerman was confronted as a suspect during the investigation. Whitlow and Baldwin drove themselves to police interviews while Zimmerman was met at his State Farm office by five officers and taken in a police car to the police station.
In addition to Whitlow's testimony, the jury heard from another person who saw the victim shortly before her death, Ina Hess, the victim's office manager.
In a series of photos displayed in the courtroom, Hess identified several things she noticed as being out of place after her boss was killed.
A cordless phone was missing — the cord was severed on Hess’ desk — and blinds normally left open were all closed, she said. It also was unusual for Pam Zimmerman's purse to be on her desk, Hess testified.
The office manager also noted that her calendar where she logged Zimmerman's appointments was missing.
Hess also testified about a letter Pam Zimmerman drafted to her ex-husband demanding he pay about $4,000 in past-due child support. The couple divorced in 2014 after 20 years.
Pam Zimmerman’s letter, which was mailed to the defendant on Oct. 22, 2014, was shown to the jury. The letter demanded about $4,000 in child-related expenses from Zimmerman and said failure to pay would result in another trip to court.
The state's theory is that Kirk Zimmerman killed his ex-wife to avoid any further child support obligations or court hearings.
The trial will resume Tuesday with Baldwin expected to face more defense questions about texts he allegedly deleted from his cellphone.