Utah man pleads not guilty to killing wife
By jessica miller
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Feb 10 2014 11:22AM
Provo • An Orem man accused of fatally shooting his wife has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and obstruction of justice.
Conrad Mark Truman, 31, is accused of killing Heidy Truman in 2012 to collect nearly a million dollars in life insurance benefits.
After entering the not-guilty pleas on Monday morning, Conrad Truman’s attorney, Ron Yengich, asked 4th District Judge Samuel McVey to reduce the $1 million cash-only bail.
Yengich argued in a motion filed last Friday that prosecutors did not present any physical evidence during a preliminary hearing that supported his client killing his wife — only circumstantial evidence based on the opinions of police officers.
"It is now evident that there has been a material change in circumstances, in that there is a lack of evidence in support of the state’s allegation that Truman killed his wife," Yengich wrote.
Yengich asked for the bail to be reduced to a $250,000 bond, and asked that restrictions be placed on Conrad Truman — such as no alcohol consumption or prohibiting the man from leaving Utah County.
But McVey denied the motion, saying there was not a significant change in Truman’s case to warrant a lowered bail.
Heidy Truman’s family said they are happy with the bail amount, as they feared Conrad Truman would be a flight risk if released.
"We know we have a long way to go," mother Janet Wagner said outside of court. "So we’ll move forward and be strong for the marathon to we’re going to be running [in going to trial.]"
No trial date was set on Monday morning, but prosecutors said they will need 10 days to present their case to a jury.
Prosecutors have argued that evidence from the medical examiner — that the gun that killed 25-year-old Heidy Truman was pressed up against her skin when it was fired — ruled out an accidental firing, leaving only suicide or murder. No suicide note was found, and the only other person who was in the Orem home on the day of Heidy Truman’s death was her husband.
During a two-day preliminary hearing in December, Conrad Truman’s sister testified that her brother told her that he was unaware of the large insurance policies, and never said he wanted or needed money.
"They had everything," Colette Dahl testified. "They went on vacations, they had multiple cars. He bought her presents. He bought her flowers."
According to charging documents, Conrad Truman claimed someone else shot his wife through the window of their Orem home on Sept. 30, 2012. But Dahl, along with a number of police officers, have testified that there was no bullet hole in a window or anywhere at their home that would indicate she was shot by someone outside.
Orem police Detective Tom Wallace previously testified that the shot that killed Heidy Truman came from Conrad Truman’s gun. However, the state crime lab could not identify any definitive fingerprints on the gun, Wallace testified.
Conrad Truman also allegedly told police in an interview that his wife may have committed suicide. Wallace testified that a post on the man’s Facebook page gave yet another explanation as to how his wife died.
"It was a complete freak accident," Wallace read from a printed copy of Conrad Truman’s Facebook page. "She had a gun in her hand and slipped."
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.
Yengich argued in the bail reduction motion that the blood spatter may have been due to two dogs running through the home, Conrad Truman trying to conduct CPR and paramedics attempting life-saving efforts on the woman.
Conrad Truman told investigators that he was in another room when his wife was shot. The two had bickered that 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.
Conrad Truman called 911, and Heidy Truman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died.