MUSCATINE — It's been a long nearly 27 years for Susan and Jim Wieneke. In the fall of 1992, their only child, Corey, was killed. This week, they said they got some closure.
"She took the thing most important to me in my life," Susan said of Annette Cahill, the woman convicted Thursday of killing Corey.
In the 1990s, Cahill, 29, and Wieneke, 22, had a complicated and emotional physical relationship for about a year before he was killed. The prosecution argued the two had an argument the night before Corey was killed about his involvement with another woman that led to his death.
The Wieneke homicide case had gone cold until 2017 when a woman approached investigators about a confession she overheard when she was a child. Jessie Becker said she overheard Cahill say, "I'm sorry I killed you, Corey," in a darkened room of the house where Cahill was living and Becker, then 9 years old, was sleeping over with friends.
The first first-degree murder trial of Cahill took place in March and ended in a hung jury. The second trial began the week of Sept. 9 and the state presented the jury with new testimony. Scott Payne said in 1992 he saw Cahill burn "blood-stained" clothing in a burn barrel in the yard of the home where she was staying "a day or two" after Wieneke was killed.
During deliberations, Susan and Jim said after so many years of investigations and two trials, they were tired. Jim said the trial was a "happy-sad feeling." They would be ready for a third trial if it came to that, but they wanted the case to be over.
The jury returned Thursday afternoon with a guilty verdict. Cahill was convicted of second-degree murder for the homicide.
"I have sympathy for her," Susan said after the trial, "but you have to remember, she was a different person then."
The jury returned to the courtroom Wednesday afternoon where presiding Judge Patrick McElyea asked the jury foreman if the jury could reach a verdict, and whether more time would yield a verdict, to which the foreman replied, no. McElyea ordered the jury back into deliberations and the next day, they nine women and three men reached a verdict.
"I'm so glad the jury got to come back Thursday," Susan said.
Jim declined to talk to the press after the trial, Susan said, but she had never seen him with so much emotion.
You have free articles remaining.
"That's the Jim I haven't seen in a long time," she said, "with so much joy and happiness."
The Wieneke's phones were flooded with calls from friends and family after the news broke about the verdict. She said she just had her birthday and she was getting ready for a class reunion this weekend and her 50th wedding anniversary later this month.
"It's a relief," she said, "but it's going to take us a few days to realize we don't have to keep worrying."
Corey's death happened nearly three decades ago, but Susan said she feels like the family can now put him to rest. Life continued, but Susan said her feelings about her son will always be there.
"It's been 27 years," she said. "I've gotten to the point where I don't lose it all the time in front of people, but it's still there."
Susan said she and Corey were close, having grown up together, and she knew he loved her.
"We still miss Corey so terribly," she said.
Cahill will be sentenced Nov. 22 in Muscatine County Court. Susan said she'll be there with other friends and family to read victim impact statements.
"We'll read statements we've written to let people know what we've gone through this entire time," she said.
Susan said she knows Corey is with her today. Though Corey's death changed their lives and they won't get him back, Susan expressed relief at the trial's conclusion.
"We're really excited and happy," she said. "Maybe we can move on now."