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Mistrial declared in 1992 bludgeoning murder case

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The trial of a Tipton woman accused of killing her lover in West Liberty more than two decades ago has resulted in a hung jury.

Annette Cahill, 56, stood trial in Muscatine County Court for first-degree murder in  the bludgeoning death of Corey Wieneke. The 22-year-old was found by his fiancée in the bedroom of their home on October 13, 1992.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours on Monday afternoon and another three hours Tuesday morning. Shortly after lunch, they sent a note to the District Court Judge Patrick McElyea of the Seventh Judicial District that they had deadlocked.

After polling jurors, five women and seven men, individually on their inability to reach an agreement, Judge McElyea declared a mistrial.

Wieneke's parents, James and Susan were visibly emotional and shaken, but said they would push on.

"It wasn't a verdict of not guilty. So it`s gonna continue," James Wieneke said.

"If it's not her, it's somebody. We're still gonna stick with it," Corey's mother, Susan Wieneke said.

"We're definitely gonna do another trial," she added.

Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren in closing arguments on Monday said Cahill acted out of jealousy and rage.

"The defendant's jealousy that Corey was choosing this other woman over her," he said. "The jealousy that built up inside her, the jealousy that turned to anger, then rage, and ultimately murderous violence."

Wieneke had relations with several women at the time, two of whom testified as state witnesses during four days of testimony.

Prosecutors argued Cahill beat Wieneke with a baseball recovered a mile from Wieneke’s home. Experts testified Wieneke died from blunt force trauma caused by an object like a pipe or a bat.

But Cahill's defense argued that no forensic evidence of Cahill's were ever recovered from the bat or the crime scene, which was covered with Wieneke’s blood spatter.

"With all of her corporation and voluntary submission to every test they have asked her to take, there is not one scrape of real incriminating evidence," defense attorney Clemens Erdahl said in his closing statement.

Wieneke's parents say the trial was tough on them and at times, it felt like their son was on trial. "Part of the trial was to make him look as bad as possible," the father said. "But they didn't know him like we knew him, and the rest of the community knew him."

A key witness that helped revived the decades-old cold case was Jessica Becker, an intensive care unit charge nurse at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

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 that as a 9-year-old, shortly after the murder, she was at Cahill’s home and saw Cahill light candles and heard her talk to herself, saying, "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."

"I believe this young lady is telling the truth. I don't know how much more proof you need," James Wieneke said.

Attorneys on both sides will be discussing the next steps with Judge McElyea in the coming days.

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