Jurors deliberate in Pankey Case

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Steve Pankey remains in jail, after a judge’s ruling on...
Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Steve Pankey remains in jail, after a judge’s ruling on bond in the murder of Jonelle Matthews.
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 6:11 PM MDT
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GREELEY, Colorado (KCNC) — This story comes from our sister station in Colorado KCNC. After four weeks of long and often emotional testimony from dozens of witnesses, 12 jurors must now decide if Steve Pankey kidnapped and killed Jonelle Matthews in 1984.

“The Matthews’ should not have closure at the expense of an innocent man,” said defense attorney Anthony Viorst

In closing arguments, prosecutors said jurors should look at this case using common sense. From Pankey’s strange behavior around the time Jonelle disappeared, his knowledge of evidence never made public, and how he inserted himself into the investigation for more than 30 years.

“This narcissist is saying the state will not be able to solve Jonelle Matthew’s disappearance without his help, without his cooperation,” said Assistant District Attorney for Weld County Robert Miller.

Yet the defense asked the jury to look at this case through Pankey’s eyes.

“Mr. Pankey, as we’ve heard, lives in a world of conspiracy, paranoia, and self-esteem issues,” said Viorst.

Pankey admitted he’s a liar-- a self-proclaimed “master manipulator”, but told the court he did not kidnap and kill a 12-year-old girl he’d never met.

“If you believe he lied when he said that, then you have the right to render a guilty verdict in this matter,” said Viorst.

District Attorney Michael Rourke says it’s Pankey’s lies -- over the decades and in the courtroom -- that only add to the proof that he is guilty.

“The evidence in this case has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Jonelle Matthews was kidnapped and murdered and the master manipulator did it,” said Weld County District Attorney Micheal Rourke.

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