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Judge refuses to lower bail for Utah man accused of killing wife

Published August 20, 2013 9:25 am

Courts • Bail for Conrad Truman remains at $1M.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • On the day Heidy Truman died, there was only one other person inside her residence: her husband.

In the nine months since the woman was shot to death inside the walls of her Orem home, her family has struggled with the explanations given by her husband, 31-year-old Conrad Mark Truman, as to how the woman died.

"It was hard to believe anything he said," brother Cody Wagner said Monday. "There were so many inconsistencies."

Wagner said his brother-in-law had told him that an intruder had come into their home and shot his wife.

Then, Conrad Truman told police someone shot at his wife through a window, according to court documents.

Later, he offered to police that the woman had committed suicide.

Since Heidy Truman's death on Sept. 30, 2012, investigators have been suspicious of her husband — whom they say stood to collect $878,000 in insurance and other inheritances after her death — and he was charged with murder and obstruction of justice in late July.

On Monday, he appeared in Provo's 4th District Court, requesting to have his $1 million cash-only bail reduced. His attorney, Ronald Yengich, argued that Truman should be allowed to bond out of jail so he can continue to work as an engineer and receive counseling to help him cope with his wife's death.

Yengich also noted in his arguments that Truman was not a flight risk and did not flee during the nine-month investigation, adding Truman should have the opportunity to leave jail because the court process will likely be lengthy.

"This is a case that is going to take some time," Yengich said. "It involves a great amount of forensic science."

But Judge Samuel McVey denied the request, saying that there was probable cause that Truman shot his wife, and that public safety was his primary concern.

Prosecutors allege that Truman called 911 the night of the shooting, telling dispatchers that his wife was bleeding and needed help, according to an affidavit filed in court. But police were suspicious of Truman from the beginning, starting when he refused dispatchers' attempts to give him life-saving instructions for his wife over the phone.

Court documents say the man even threatened to kill the 911 operator and later issued the same threats to emergency responders trying to help after they arrived.

Autopsy reports show Heidy Truman was shot in the head with a pistol belonging to her husband. The pistol had been pressed hard against the side of her head. In the house, police found blood everywhere — in the kitchen where Heidy Truman's naked body lay, in the front entry, the living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and on Truman himself.

Despite the evidence, however, Truman told investigators that he was in another room when his wife was shot. The two had bickered night, and she went into the bathroom to take a shower, he allegedly told police. He said that she finished showering about 20 minutes later, while he was watching TV in the living room. Then, according to his initial account recorded by police, Truman heard a loud pop and saw his wife walk out from the bathroom area and collapse on the kitchen floor.

While prosecutors and investigators claim insurance money was the motive for the killing, Colette Dahl — Conrad Truman's sister — said outside of court Monday that the couple was financially stable, and did not have the numerous insurance policies listed in court documents. She said their family is "frustrated and hurt" by inaccuracies presented by investigators, adding that Conrad and Heidy Truman loved one another, and that her brother would never murder his wife.

Dahl said her brother's various explanations of how his wife died were merely theories —his "engineering" way of communicating.

"The honest truth is he doesn't know, and neither do we," she said.

Truman is to appear in court again for a scheduling hearing on Oct. 28.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller