First witnesses called in 1992 murder case in West Liberty
MUSCATINE, Iowa — 26 years after Corey Wieneke, a bartender from West Liberty, was found bludgeoned to death in his home, his alleged killer and lover, Annette Cahill, is standing trial for his murder in Muscatine County.
The trial was moved to the basement of the Muscatine Community Services Center due to a renovation at the courthouse, after jury selection and attorneys’ opening statements Monday.
Annette Chill, 56, and Wieneke, who was 22 when he was killed, had a sexual relationship at the time. Prosecutors are expected to argue that she beat him to death with a baseball bat at the home he shared with his fiancee Jody Hotz in West Liberty in October 1992.
Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren called as the State’s first witness agent Kenneth Sandy, who worked as an investigator for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations at the time.
The prosecutor asked him to review photos taken at the crime scene – showing Wieneke lying face down in the bedroom, blood spatter on the walls and above the door frame.
Prosecutor also brought a key piece of evidence, a bloody baseball bat that was found near Wieneke’s home, wrapped in clear plastic to preserve the evidence.
But Cahill’s defense attorney, Clemens Erdahl, repeatedly asked the witness if there was actually any of Cahill’s blood at the home or on the baseball bat.
“There were no physical evidence at the scene of the crime, including no fingerprints to link Annette to the crime right?” he asked in cross-examination.
“That is true,” Sandy replied.
Erdahl also brought up the possibility of other suspects that were in or near West Liberty at the time of the murder, including a man who was convicted of having committed a similar bludgeoning murder the following year.
The prosecution called one more witness Tuesday afternoon. The trial is expected to last through mid-March. Cahill could face a life sentence if convicted.