MUSCATINE — There were several unexpected things that happened Oct. 13, 1992, when Jody Willier, then Jody Hotz, returned to the small farmhouse she shared with her fiance, Corey Lee Wieneke.
She said the couple’s dog was outside unattended and a piece of particle board covering a broken window on the door had been removed and the doors were open.
Willier testified Wednesday morning in Muscatine County Court in the murder trial of Annette Cahill, a 56-year old Tipton woman charged last year with killing Wieneke more than 25 years ago with a baseball bat.
Willier gave information about her relationship with Wieneke and what she experienced leading up to his death and the day she found his body.
She said she went inside the home and walked to a bedroom where she saw Wieneke lying on the floor, blood on the closet door.
Willier described Wieneke as an easygoing and lighthearted person who was “a lot of fun to be around.”
The young couple, both 22 years old in 1992, had dated since high school and were engaged to be married at the time.
Willier testified she worked at a bank in Iowa City in 1992 and left for work around 8 a.m. Oct. 13. When she left the house, she said Wieneke was alive and when she returned home around 6 p.m. she saw Wieneke’s car was still there though he should’ve been working at his family’s bar by then.
“I touched him and said his name,” she said. “And, of course, there was nothing.”
She called 911, and a recording of that call was played for the jury Wednesday.
“I need someone to come out,” the caller could be heard. “I think my fiancé is dead.”
After Wieneke's death, Willier said she didn’t continue to live in the small rural house her family owned.
“I had no want to even go back in that house again,” she said. “There was nothing for me there.”
Willier said she knew of rumors about Wieneke’s involvement with other women over the course of their relationship.
“I ignored a lot of that, and internalized a lot of that myself,” she said.
She said she would feel hurt and disappointed by what she heard, but doesn’t remember feeling jealous about the rumors. She also said she didn’t personally know the women Wieneke was involved with, including Annette Cahill.
“I did love him,” she said.
Another woman Wieneke had a romantic relationship with also testified about their personal involvement.
Wendi Chamberlin, formerly Marshall, confirmed Wieneke was the father of her child born in 1992. Chamberlin was 20 at the time and met Wieneke through visiting the bar. The two would spend time together after bar closed.
She also said he was fun and charming.
"Everybody liked him," she said.
Chamberlin also knew Wieneke had relationships with other women and was upset to learn he was engaged. She said she knew Wieneke was involved with Cahill — it was "common knowledge" — and would see them at the bar.
The night before Wieneke was found dead, Chamberlin said Cahill was upset that Wieneke was going to take Chamberlin home from the bar, and the two argued.
The prosecution played an interview from last March between the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Jon Turbett and Cahill. In it, Cahill said she also knew Wieneke was involved with other women at the time of their relationships and was also engaged. She said Wieneke was the kind of person to have multiple relationships. She also said the two had made plans to go to Missouri the weekend after he died.
Cahill was not under arrest at the time of the interview.
Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.