MUSCATINE, Iowa -- The prosecution rested in a murder trial that dates back to 1992 in Muscatine County.
Annette Cahill was on trial for the murder of Corey Wieneke, who was found dead on his bedroom floor inside his West Liberty Home on October 13, 1992.
Previous reports indicate that his fiancee found his beaten body, and an autopsy determined Wieneke died from blunt trauma to the body. An aluminium softball bat was later determined to be the murder weapon.
At the trial on Thursday, March 7, a woman who held a crucial childhood memory took the stand. Jessica Becker was just nine years old at the time of the 1992 murder. She was a friend of Cahill's niece.
Becker testified that Annette Cahill was the fun aunt for her and her friends, letting them watch scary movies and get away with mischief. She recalled attending sleepovers in the house that Cahill shared with her brother and sister-in-law.
Becker told jurors that in the fall of 1992, shortly after the murder, she was at Cahill's home on one of those sleepovers. She said she and her friend sneaked downstairs after bedtime and saw Cahill lighting black candles.
"We came down to the bottom of the steps and heard Annette. And she was sobbing and crying," said Becker. "She was lighting black candles and apologizing to Corey and she said "I'm so sorry Corey, I never meant to hurt you, I loved you Corey. I never meant to kill you. I'm so sorry for killing you Corey."
Becker said to the court that she felt helpless holding back what she had heard for 25 years.
She told her mother, Cynthia Crogh, what she had heard at the time. Crogh corroborated the account on the witness stand, but she never went to police with the information. She said at the time, she was scared for her children.
"The main reason I was scared was because of the brutality of the murder," she said.
Becker testified that in 2017 she met a special agent through her work as an intensive care unit nurse at for the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. The agent was there with his partner interviewing a patient in another case.
The two started talking and she felt she could trust him. She told him what she saw and that information helped revive the cold case.
After Becker's testimony, the state rested its case.
The defense asked presiding judge Patrick McElyea to throw out the case, but the request was denied.
Cahill's attorney argues that there was no forensic evidence at the crime scene to connect Cahill to the murder.
The defense is expected to present its witness on Monday, March 11.