By Amy Macavinta | Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:45 pm
As investigators continue to gather evidence in the shooting death of 44-year-old Chad Kirk Andrus, his family is preparing a funeral.
On Tuesday, local attorney Diane Pitcher, a friend of the Andrus family, added some insight into the events that took place over the weekend, which culminated in Andrus’ death and second-degree murder charges against 41-year-old James Kelly Pilgrim of Preston.
“This didn’t happen because the victim was doing anything bad — this Pilgrim guy was just off his rocker,” Pitcher said.
According to Pitcher, Andrus and Pilgrim both worked for Plastic Industries in Preston. Andrus was a supervisor there and had worked at the company for many years, she said.
Late Friday night and into the early morning hours Saturday, Andrus had been spending time with a friend and some others. Pitcher said she did not know if Pilgrim was invited to the home or if he just showed up.
Pilgrim worked on a different shift, and Pitcher said the two men rarely associated with one another outside of work, which made Pilgrim’s presence at the home even more unusual, she said.
Police were called to the home at 2:09 a.m., and when officers arrived, they pronounced Andrus dead of multiple gunshot wounds.
Andrus, a father of four, was the sole provider for his family. Pitcher described him as “a stellar person.”
“He was just an incredible guy,” she said.
According to Franklin County’s prosecuting attorney, Vic Pearson, Pilgrim was charged in Idaho’s 6th District Court on Monday afternoon with second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Pearson said he has filed the case under seal because the investigation is still ongoing and prosecutors are still working to gather the facts. Pearson also cited “notoriety” of the case as a reason why it was filed under seal.
Pilgrim is currently scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon for a preliminary hearing, the day after Andrus’ funeral services. Evidence could be presented in the case at that time.
Pitcher said the Andrus family is disappointed because prosecutors chose to file second-degree murder charges instead of first-degree murder.
In addition, Pitcher said it was not the prosecutor who informed the family when official charges were filed — they obtained that information through the media.
“When they are in the middle of planning a funeral, they should not have to worry about case proceedings,” Pitcher said.
This is not the first time the Andrus family has faced a tragic loss.
In 2009, Chad’s brother Tim Andrus was killed when he was accidentally stabbed in the chest by his own knife while wrestling with a friend at the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Blacksmith Fork Canyon.
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