MUSCATINE — Jury selection began Monday morning in the murder trial of Annette Cahill in Muscatine and is expected to continue Tuesday.
The selection process and trial is taking place at the Muscatine Community School District Administration Building on Mulberry Avenue due to renovation work at the Muscatine County Courthouse.
A 12-person jury and alternates will be selected from around 100 prospective jurors who gathered in the sanctuary of the former church. Presiding over the case is Judge Patrick McElyea, district court judge in the Seventh Judicial District. The trial is expected to last until March 15.
McElyea said jurors may not communicate or do research on the case, including finding information on Cahill, locations mentioned in the case, witnesses and counsel, and that the case will be tried on evidence presented in the courtroom.
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Cahill is represented by Clemens Erdahl, Elizabeth Araguás and Jonathon Muñoz.
Cahill, 56, of Tipton was arrested last May and charged with first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of Corey Lee Wieneke more than 25 years ago. Wieneke was found dead the morning of Oct. 13, 1992, by his fiancee in his rural Muscatine County home. Cahill and Wieneke had a sexual relationship and investigators said the two argued about his involvement with another woman the morning he was found dead.
The jury is expected to hear testimony from a witness who allegedly heard Cahill confess to the murder in 1992 when the witness was 9 years old. The testimony is key to the state's case and will be corroborated by the witness' mother who is expected to testify her daughter told her of the alleged confession at the time.
The defense filed a pretrial motion to have the testimony ruled inadmissible citing inconsistencies in witness testimony and bias from the witnesses. In 1991, Cahill had an affair with the with the witness' stepfather, her mother's husband, which resulted in the end of the marriage. The motion was denied.
The defense is expected to argue the witness knew about the affair before telling her mother of Cahill's alleged confession and an expert witness for the defense testified the witness' memory of the confession is "extremely questionable." An autopsy revealed Wieneke died by blunt force trauma and investigators recovered a bat