MUSCATINE — Defense attorneys called witnesses Monday in the murder trial of Annette Cahill to refute testimony given last week alleging Cahill burned bloody clothing shortly after Corey Lee Wieneke was killed.
Scott Payne of Muscatine testified Thursday and Friday he saw Cahill "speeding up the driveway" of the home of Denny and Jacque Hazen, where she was living at the time, and burn "blood-stained" clothing she removed from her car. Payne claimed to witness Cahill burn the clothing in a burn barrel behind the house near Atalissa "a day or two" after Wieneke had been found beaten to death in his West Liberty home.
Cahill is on trial for the second time in the killing of her boyfriend more than 25 years ago.
MUSCATINE — A jury heard testimony in the Annette Cahill murder trial that had not been pres…
The defense team of attorneys Clemens Erdahl and Elizabeth Araguas called former Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Wade Kisner and current DCI Agent Trent Valenta to read from reports from interviews investigators conducted with Payne. In previous interviews, Payne had said he wasn't living in Muscatine at the time of Wieneke's death and returned to Muscatine only after he learned about the homicide. On the stand last week, he said he may have been living in the Muscatine County area, but he couldn't recall.
A third witness, Jacque Hazen of Centerville, also took the stand for the defense. Hazen was a friend and sister-in-law of Cahill's in 1992, married to Cahill's brother Denny Hazen. Jacque said she knew Cahill and Wieneke were romantically involved.
"They saw each other as often as they could," she said.
Hazen also knew Wieneke had relationships with other women when he was seeing Cahill. She named Jody Hotz, who was Wieneke's live-in fiancee, and Missy Morrison. Morrison was killed by her husband Bob Morrison, who then killed himself, several years after Wieneke's death. Investigators developed a theory about Bob Morrison killing Wieneke because of his involvement with Missy, but Morrison was not prosecuted for the crime.
State's attorney Alan Ostergren strongly argued against the information Hazen presented, especially about her knowledge of Wieneke's relationship with Missy Morrison. Referencing previous interview transcripts, Ostergren said Hazen had been interviewed 12 times and had not mentioned her awareness of Wieneke's involvement with Morrison until Monday's testimony.
Hazen also recounted the events of Oct. 13, 1992, the day Wieneke was found dead. She said a loud voice woke her up early that morning, but it didn't bother her enough to determine the cause. Around 10 a.m., she said she drove to a construction site where Cahill was working to pick her up. Hazen said she had an 11 a.m. appointment in Iowa City, and needed Cahill to drive her because she injured her knee and didn't feel comfortable driving herself. After the left the construction site, Hazen said the two stopped at Wieneke's house in rural West Liberty. When asked if Cahill had a weapon, Hazen said: "Oh, gosh no." She said Cahill knocked on the door a couple of times, but Wieneke never appeared so they left.
Hazen said after her appointment in Iowa City, they made several other stops in town. On the way back to the farmhouse, she said they stopped at a gas station so Cahill could call Wieneke, and returned home before 3 p.m. when her children would arrive home from school. Hazen provided receipts to investigators during the initial investigation to corroborate her story. She said she went to work in Iowa City that night, where Cahill went to tell Hazen she learned Wieneke was dead. Hazen said Cahill was visibly upset and crying. She said Hazen and Cahill then went to the West Liberty Police Department to tell officers they had been at Wieneke's home earlier that day. She testified they also provided samples to authorities including carpet from her car and her tennis shoes that had red on them, which turned out to be hair dye, she said. She also said photographs of the two women were taken by police to be shown around Iowa City as part of the investigation.
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Of Payne, Hazen said she didn't recall him being at her house until after he'd been severely injured at his job, around 1994, and received a large sum of settlement money. She said he used the money to buy drugs, which Payne also said in testimony last week, and Payne never stayed overnight at the house.
Hazen said Denny had a drug addiction and would use meth in a shed on their property with Payne and others, but she never used drugs. A burn barrel, she said, was about 100 feet from the home, on the southern edge of the property. She said she never saw Cahill burn bloody clothes in the burn barrel they used to burn trash, nor did she help Cahill burn bloody clothes. She said her experiences in three recent interviews with investigators were uncomfortable.
"I was under the impression he wanted me to lie," she said of DCI Agent Jon Turbett.
Hazen claimed investigators were looking to "pin" the crime on someone and didn't care who it was. She also claimed in one unscheduled interview, Valeta and Turbett yelled and beat the table.
In cross-examination, Ostergren said Hazen had also been interviewed by the agents at another time with her lawyer present. With documents present, he asked her if she said it was possible Cahill told her to say some things to protect Cahill. Hazen denied ever covering for Cahill.
"I did not lie to police 25 years ago or any other time," she said.
The defense revealed Hazen was a state's witness before resting its case Monday afternoon.
In March, the first Cahill trial resulted in a mistrial as jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.
MUSCATINE — Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Patrick McElyea declared a mistrial Tuesda…
Closing arguments are set for Tuesday, followed by jury deliberations.