MUSCATINE -- The murder trial of Annette D. Cahill is expected to last until Friday. Here's what the proceedings have revealed so far:
Cahill, 56, of Tipton, was charged with first-degree murder last year in the death of Corey Lee Wieneke. The prosecution made its opening statement Tuesday to a Muscatine County jury in which it claimed Cahill, then Annette McCrabb, and Wieneke had a sexual relationship, and Cahill killed Wieneke with an aluminum bat over his involvement with other women.
The state is represented by Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren and Iowa Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister.
Wieneke was found beaten to death the evening of Oct. 13, 1992, by his fiancee Jody Hotz, now Jody Willier. The jury saw crime scene photographs of Wieneke's bloody body in a bedroom of the small farmhouse he shared with Willier near West Liberty.
Willier testified Wednesday about her relationship with Wieneke and said she had heard rumors of his relationships with other women despite the couple's engagement. She denied knowing Cahill and was at work in Iowa City the day of the murder. She said when she left for work that morning, Wieneke was alive.
She said when she returned home that night, she noticed Wieneke's car was still there when he was supposed to be at work, the couple's dog was outside unattended, and the doors were open. Willier said she went through the kitchen and walked back to the bedrooms.
"That's where I found Corey," she said. "He was laying right there by the bed. I couldn't see his face."
She said she touched his back and said his name, but there was no response; then she called 911. A recording of the phone call was played for the jury and a panicked Willier could be heard saying, "I need someone to come out, I think my fiance is dead."
Another woman romantically involved with Wieneke at the time, Wendi Chamberlin, formerly Marshall, testified about an encounter between Cahill and Wieneke the night before he died. Wieneke is the father of Chamberlin's child, who was born in 1992.
Chamberlin said on Oct. 12 the three were at a West Liberty bar owned by Wieneke's family. After the bar closed, Wieneke and Chamberlin were going to leave together when they saw Cahill in Wieneke's car. Cahill was upset by Chamberlin's presence and argued about it with Wieneke.
Law enforcement have also testified about reports and interviews gathered since the case began in 1992 and over the years. Testimony from Jon Turbett, agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, confirmed fingerprints have not been found on the bat, and any physical evidence from Cahill —fingerprints, DNA, blood or hair — has not been found at the crime scene or on the bat. Fibers were found on the bat, but have also not been connected to Cahill. She did provide investigators with her coat and shoes for testing.
The case went "cold" or was less active until 2017 when Jessie Becker approached agent Trent Vileta with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation about something she heard one night near the end of 1992.
Becker, an intensive care unit nurse in Iowa City, was the 9-year old neighbor of the Wieneke's in 1992 in West Liberty. She said Corey was like a big brother. Becker was also close friends with Cahill's niece, Kayla Hazen, at the time. During a sleepover at Hazen's house, where Cahill also lived at the time, Becker said the girls overheard Cahill confess to killing Wieneke as she was sobbing and lighting black candles. Becker said she told her mother about what she witnessed and her mother, Cynthia Krogh, corroborated her account through testimony.
Turbett began working on the case in 2017 and met with Cahill prior to her May 31, 2018 arrest. Recordings of those interactions were played for the jury.
In them, Cahill, in her own words, described her relationship with Wieneke and recounted information she gave investigators when the case opened decades ago.
In the third interview conducted at Cahill's Tipton home, the jury heard Cahill tell Turbett she would get mad at Wieneke for his relationships with other women, but he "didn't deserve this." And even if someone was angry at Wieneke for his behavior, "the rational thought should always stay on top," she said.
Turbett said that was the reason why "crimes of passion" exist, "because we can't stay rational in some of those situations." Cahill admitted she and her sister in-law, Jackie Hazen, visited Wieneke's home the day he died, but said when she knocked on the door, he didn't answer.
In the interview recording, Turbett bluffed about having Cahill's DNA evidence from the crime scene and said investigators had made their conclusion in the case.
Cahill said to Turbett, "I didn't kill Corey. I didn't hurt Corey." She then told him to leave.
Cahill's defense attorneys Clemens Erdahl and Elizabeth Araguas made a motion Thursday to acquit, citing insufficient evidence from the state. They argued evidence presented so far has not shown Cahill struck Wieneke with the bat that killed him.
Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Patrick McElyea presiding over the case said evidence presented so far presents questions for the jury to decide.
Trial is being held in Muscatine County Community Services Building due to renovations at the courthouse. Testimony is expected to continue Monday.