A Middle Georgia preacher on trial for the alleged 2015 murder of one of the two women he had simultaneously been engaged to marry took the stand in his own defense Monday.
Pastor William C. “Bill” Pounds III, a former Robins Air Force Base emergency worker who was also a minister at a church on the east side of Perry, sobbed and at times choked up as he recalled a night in June 2015. It was the night one of his fiancees died of a gunshot wound to the head in the bedroom of his Macon townhouse.
Whether his account was credible enough remains to be seen. Jurors in Bibb County Superior Court are expected to hear closing arguments and begin deliberating sometime Tuesday.
Pounds, 49, testified that after he told his longtime girlfriend, Kendra M. Jackson that he was leaving her for the other woman, in her distress she grabbed his .40-caliber pistol from a chest of drawers. She stuck it to her temple and squeezed the trigger before he could wrest it from her grip, he said.
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Bibb prosecutors, meanwhile, contend that Jackson, who was 46, died because Pounds shot Jackson himself at his Bel Meade Place duplex and contrived a tale of suicide to cover his tracks.
Testimony in the case began Thursday, but Monday’s developments were perhaps the most stirring of the trial.
The defense called Pounds to the stand and he acknowledged his “indiscretions,” his flat-out lies and his manipulations of the women.
In an overcast-gray suit and a purple-plaid bow tie, the beefy former pastor of King’s Chapel Memorial CME Church swore to tell the truth. He spoke of his at-times strained 15-year romance with Jackson.
The two had met in 2000 at a bank in front of the old Westgate Mall shopping center where Jackson worked. She thought his father, a customer there, was handsome, Pounds said, and she wanted to meet the son.
They dated for a decade and a half, during which both are thought to have had other lovers.
Pounds’ other women included an Atlanta-area cop he met and slept with on their first date in 2005. He would later ask that woman for her hand in marriage even though he was already engaged to Jackson.
Both women learned of one another in December 2014 and confronted Pounds, but he smoothed things over with both by, as Pounds testified, “making false assurances” to each. Unbeknownst to them, he continued seeing both.
Within six months, Jackson, a single mother of three, would be dead.
On the night of June 11, 2015, and on into the wee hours of the following morning, Pounds said he and Jackson had sat in bed watching the NBA Finals. She drank a Corona beer and had some dessert.
Pounds said he decided it was time to tell Jackson that they needed to break up, that he was in love with the other woman, that it was over.
Pounds testified that Jackson grew furious and “lost it,” telling him, among other things, “You done made a fool out of me for too many years. … You hurt me too many times. I’m just tired of your (expletive).”
He quoted Jackson’s fury in detail for jurors, recounting a profanity-laced tirade in which she supposedly cussed him out for “embarrassing me like this” and then choosing to take up with some “b----” when “you know I love you.”
One detail he couldn’t remember or explain — due to his “clustered” mind and his “freaking out” and an episode that was “beyond traumatic” — was how or why a second bullet from his gun was fired into his bed.
He also addressed an inconsistency, or tried to, in what he supposedly told a firefighter at the scene that night: That Jackson had shot herself in his upstairs bedroom while Pounds was downstairs. The firefighter testified last week that Pounds had told him Pounds had heard a gunshot and raced upstairs.
Asked Monday by his own attorney about the firefighter’s testimony, Pounds answered with a nebulous, “I can’t say whether he’s right or wrong.”
The night of the shooting, according to Pounds’ testimony, Jackson got out of bed, dressed and picked up his pistol. He thought she was going to leave at first but then felt she was going to shoot him as he lay in bed. He said he isn’t sure whether she fired at him or not.
Then, he said, she stuck the gun to her head.
“Please stop!” Pounds testified to telling her, after she told him that one of them was going to die.
Pounds said he scurried across the covers to the foot of the bed where Jackson stood.
“I put my hands on her hands, I remember, and tried to get the gun. I heard the gun go off,” Pounds recalled, crying. “Blood was just everywhere.”
After Pounds had been the stand for more than 90 minutes, defense attorney Franklin J. Hogue asked his client two final questions.
“Did you put that gun to the head of Kendra Jackson and pull the trigger?”
“No, sir,” Pounds said. “I could never do that.”
“Did you kill her?” Hogue asked.
“No, sir. No, sir,” Pounds replied, his voice breaking. “No, sir.”