MUSCATINE — A date has not yet been set, but a retrial of Annette Cahill is expected for her alleged involvement in the death of Corey Lee Wieneke more than 25 years ago.
The state has until 90 days from Wednesday, or June 11, to bring Cahill to trial. Trial may not begin before then if Cahill waives her right to a speedy trial or good cause is shown for delay beyond June 11.
Cahill may be tried for a lesser charge such as manslaughter.
The 12-member Muscatine County jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict after hours of deliberations that began Monday afternoon and went into Tuesday afternoon. Presiding Judge Patrick McElyea of the seventh judicial district court declared a mistrial.
Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren prosecuted the case along with Coleman McAllister, an assistant Iowa attorney general. Ostergren said parties have been communicating about a trial date.
He said a mistrial wasn't the outcome the state wanted, but "it's always a possibility in a criminal case" where a unanimous decision is required.
"It does happen from time to time," he said.
The five women and seven men of the jury were deadlocked Tuesday afternoon despite McElyea meeting with the jury to determine if additional discussion time would yield a verdict. unanimous conclusion from the jury was required for the court to convict Cahill of first-degree murder or second-degree murder, or find her not guilty. The jury was deadlocked.
Without commenting on strategy Ostergren said the prosecution will review the transcript of the trial and he is confident the state will work to prepare for the retrial.
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After presenting its case, he said the prosecution will do what it did in the first trial, "place this case in the hands of the 12 members of the jury and trust that they will make the best decision."
He declined to comment on how the jury was split.
Cahill, 56, of Tipton was charged with first-degree murder last year in the 1992 bludgeoning death of Corey Lee Wieneke of West Liberty. Wieneke, 22 years old at the time, was found dead by his live-in fiancee at their small, rural farmhouse.
The case became active again in 2017 — 25 years after Wieneke's death — after a woman approached investigators with new information. The woman, Jessie Becker, said when she was 9 years old, nearly 10, when she overheard Cahill in 1992 allegedly confess to killing Wieneke.
The state argued Cahill had motive and opportunity to kill Wieneke as the two were involved in a complicated and sexual relationship.
In recorded interviews, Cahill said she and Wieneke had an argument the night before he died about his involvement with another woman. She said she had also been at Wieneke's home the day he was killed.
Cahill's attorneys, Clemens Erdahl and Elizabeth Araguas, argued there was no evidence placing Cahill at the scene of the crime. The argument was confirmed through testimony from law enforcement.
Cahill's defense team could not be reached for comment before deadline.
Cahill's fingerprints and DNA were not found in the room where Wieneke was found dead, nor on the murder weapon — an aluminum softball bat —discovered a mile away from the home. Only Wieneke's blood was found on the bat, and red fibers found on the bat were not a match to fibers from the inside of the car Cahill was in that day nor from her coat. Cahill's shoes were also tested, but no blood was found on them.