Ex-Husband Acquitted in Wife’s Murder; Defense Says Her Fiance Wasn’t Thoroughly Investigated

Pam Zimmerman and fiance Scott Baldwin, Dateline NBC

NBC Pam Zimmerman and fiance Scott Baldwin, Dateline NBC

Pam Zimmerman’s murder is the subject of a rebroadcast of Dateline: NBC’s episode “Before Midnight” in which NBC’s Keith Morrison spoke to Zimmerman’s children, neighbors and friends about her 2014 shooting death. Here’s what you need to know about her husband Kirk’s trial and why he was acquitted of the murder.

Pam Zimmerman Was Shot to Death in 2014

In November 2014, Pam Zimmerman’s three teenage children woke up and were concerned that she hadn’t come home the night before.

“I walk out into the hallway, the lights are still on. Her bedroom is dark and it looked like no one had been there,” Pam’s son David Zimmerman told Dateline, with his younger sister adding, “We made up every possible excuse there could have been for why she wouldn’t come home.”

Pam’s then-fiance, Scott Baldwin, called Pam’s friend Julie Koh, who went to Pam’s office in Bloomington, Illinois, where she found the 53-year-old woman shot to death. No murder weapon was ever found.

In July 2015, the Bloomington Police Department arrested Pam’s ex-husband Kirk for the murder. In a press conference, the chief of police said that despite arresting Kirk for the murder, the investigation was still ongoing

“This case has proven both complex and challenging. Despite the scene of the crime being in a business in a highly-visible public location, there were no known eyewitnesses. Early investigative efforts did not clearly identify a suspect … despite an arrest being made, we consider the case ongoing,” said Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

Pam’s Ex-Husband Was Acquitted at Trial

Investigators arrested Pam’s ex-husband, Kirk Zimmerman, with prosecutors arguing at trial that Zimmerman shot Pam in her office because he was short on cash and upset at her asking that he pay his $4000 in unpaid child support. The defense argued that the investigators never properly investigated other suspects, like Pam’s then-fiance Baldwin or the last client she saw on the day she died, Eldon Whitlow.

According to The Pantagraph, Baldwin had been exchanging text messages of a sexual nature with another woman before Zimmerman was killed, something he initially denied. Balwin and Zimmerman had only been engaged two days when she was murdered.

After seven hours of deliberation over two days, the jury acquitted Kirk in his wife’s murder. According to the Decatur Herald & Review, the jury “did not hear certain evidence compiled by the state related to the Zimmermans’ divorce, including heated exchanges between the two over money. In hearings before the trial, [the judge] limited the evidence the state could present, including information on Zimmerman’s financial condition after his former wife’s death in November 2014.”

“While we’re disappointed in the outcome, we certainly respect the jury process and the jury’s decision in this matter,” McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp told WGLT at the time.

Zimmerman did not address reporters but he did issue a statement citing a “lack of real physical evidence,” “problematic evidence-collection techniques” and “laughably” flawed analysis of his personal finances, according to WGLT.

Dateline: NBC airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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