Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Piper Rountree's Revenge

A Losing Battle

Rountree before court
Rountree before court

On the fourth day of the trial, several other witnesses presented testimony to the court, which included a parking lot official from Hobby Airport in Houston who said that he saw Rountree's black jeep parked at the airport from October 28th to October 30th, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Two other witnesses testified that they saw Rountree days before the murder at a shooting range in Houston, using her sister's identification. Rountree allegedly bought a box of ammunition for a .38-caliber gun, similar to that believed to have killed Jablin. 

That same day, O'Keefe took the stand and recounted his conversations with Rountree at the Houston-area bar, where she tried to get him to sign a notarized statement that he had seen her October 29th. His testimony was followed by Piper Rountree's testimony in her own defense. Her account of events was the most revealing, which inevitably changed the climate of the entire proceedings.

While on the stand, Rountree tearfully professed her innocence, claiming that she was in Houston when Jablin was gunned down in front of his home. She said that she never owned a gun and never had her sister Tina's driver's license. She claimed that she was often mistaken for her sister "both in voice and in physical appearance," suggesting that it was her sister in Houston at the time of Jablin's murder instead of her. When lawyers confronted her with the evidence they had against her, she refuted it all or simply claimed ignorance. Throughout her testimony she became increasingly less convincing, which proved to have disastrous results for her defense.

Rountree concerned, listens to testimony
Rountree concerned, listens to testimony

On the fifth day, closing arguments were heard before the jury deliberated on the case. By mid-afternoon, a verdict was returned finding Piper Rountree guilty of murdering her ex-husband and the felonious use of a firearm. As the verdict was read, Rountree could only sob. It was recommended that she be sentenced to life in prison, plus a mandatory three years on firearm charges.

During the sentencing trial in May of that year, Henrico County Circuit Judge L.A. Harris, Jr. sentenced Rountree to life in prison plus three years. The judge said to Rountree during the hearing that "the evidence certainly shows that it (her intent) was willful, deliberate and premeditated" and he admonished her for having "absolutely no remorse," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Piper Rountree after sentence
Piper Rountree after sentence

Rountree was led away from the courtroom to Henrico's Jail East where she was temporarily imprisoned. In July 2005, she was transferred to Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Troy, Virginia, where she will be imprisoned for the remainder of her sentence. She is expected to be up for parole in 2020, when she's 60-years-old, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

 

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