On May 27, 2011, Bernard “Bernie” Pyne found his wife of 32 years, Ruth Pyne, dead in their Highland Township, Michigan garage. His 10-year-old daughter Julia was with him. Ruth, the 51-year-old stay-at-home mother, had been brutally beaten (hit in the head at least 12 times with a two-by-four) and stabbed 16 times in the neck. Bernie and Ruth’s 21-year-old son, Jeffrey Pyne, was charged with the murder of his mother, who suffered from mental illness. When Jeffrey was 8, Ruth was diagnosed as bipolar with psychotic features. Throughout Jeffrey’s childhood, Ruth had been hospitalized several times. When she refused to take her medication, she would occasionally lash out at her family, including her son Jeffrey.
In 2013, Jeffrey Pyne was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years. While there was no physical evidence connecting Jeffrey to the crime scene, the prosecution presented a case based on circumstantial evidence including a false alibi and suspicious blisters. Bernie and Julie Pyne believe Jeffrey is innocent but Ruth Pyne’s sister Linda Jarvie, believes justice was served when Jeffrey was sentenced. Dateline NBC will air the first part of its investigative report ‘Behind Closed Doors’ on Sunday, May 15 at 10pm.