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Detective: Utah man charged with murder acted strangely
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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 • Police arriving at the scene of a fatal shooting at an Orem home last year initially believed they were responding to a suicide.

But the strange behavior of the woman's husband soon made them consider the home a crime scene, according to testimony Friday in Provo's 4th District Court.

Conrad Mark Truman, 31, is charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice for the Sept. 30, 2012, death of 25-year-old Heidy Truman.

The alleged motive for the slaying is about $878,000 in insurance and other inheritances the man stood to gain, according to charging documents.

A preliminary hearing in the case — where Judge Samuel McVey will decide if there is enough probable cause for Conrad Truman to stand trial — began Friday with prosecutors calling Orem police Cpl. William Crook to the stand.

Crook testified that Conrad Truman was standing in his front doorway screaming for his help when he pulled up on a call of a shooting.

"He had blood on his hands," Crook said. "Blood on some of his clothing."

Crook said he walked up the stairs in the home and saw a nude Heidy Truman lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. The blood was coming from a head wound.

While paramedics worked to resuscitate her, Crook said he began interacting with Conrad Truman.

"He threatened to kill me and everyone I know if I didn't save Heidy," Crook testified.

Orem Fire Battalion Chief Russ Sneddon testified that when he arrived, Heidy Truman still had a pulse and "labored breathing." She was taken to a local hospital where she later died.

Sneddon testified that Conrad Truman's behavior was very unusual — unlike any he'd experienced in his career.

"I remember him saying, 'I will f—-ing kill you,' " Sneddon testified.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Edward Leis initially ruled Heidy Truman's manner of death as "undetermined." But as the investigation continued, he revised it to "homicide" in July 2013.

Leis testified that the gunshot wound on Heidy Truman was in "contact range," meaning the gun barrel was pressed against her skin.

On cross-examination, Leis said Heidy Truman had a blood alcohol level of 0.07 percent at death. No "street" drugs found in her system, he said.

A 911 call Conrad Truman made after his wife was shot was also played in court Friday, where the man can be heard sobbing and screaming as the dispatcher tries to get information about what had happened.

Several times during the call, Conrad Truman yells "Why?" and "C'mon, c'mon!" When the dispatcher asks him to calm down so she could give him instructions for life-saving procedures, Conrad Truman doesn't respond.

Seated in the gallery, the families of Heidy and Conrad Truman were in tears by the time the 911 call ended.

Conrad Truman told police that before the shooting, he and his wife had been drinking and watching "Dexter" — a television series about a serial killer who kills other serial killers.

Conrad Truman said he had six shots of Maker's Mark, and his wife drank somewhat less, according to police testimony.

Crook said Conrad told him that at some point during the night, the couple had argued, and Heidy went to take a shower.

But Conrad Truman's account of what happened between when she went to take a shower and when she collapsed near the kitchen after being shot, was difficult for the officer to follow.

"He was disorderly, he was agitated, he was threatening," Crook said. "His conversation didn't make sense. He didn't make full statements."

Crook said a gun was sitting on kitchen table, and at some point, Conrad Truman grabbed it.

"He picked up the gun and he yelled at it," Crook said. "Then he threw the gun."

A second gun was on the floor between Conrad Truman's legs as he sat the kitchen table. Crook said he slid the gun with his foot so it was out of Conrad Truman's view and reach.

Later, at the police station, Conrad told Crook that there was an 80 percent chance that his wife committed suicide and a 20 percent chance someone outside the home shot her.

Conrad denied shooting the woman and said no one else inside the home could have shot her, Crook testified.

"He never said to you, 'I pulled the trigger on the gun that killed my wife?' " defense attorney Ronald Yengich asked Crook during cross-examination.

"No," Crook replied.

Heidy Truman's mother, Janet Wagner, testified Friday that her daughter was making plans for the future, had just bought an expensive car and had never been depressed or had suicidal thoughts that she knew of.

Charging documents indicate that Conrad Truman claimed someone else shot his wife through an outside window while his wife was in the bathroom and he was watching TV. But Crook testified that he did not see bullet holes or a blood trail to indicate she was shot in the bathroom, as the husband claimed.

Autopsy reports show Heidy Truman was shot in the head with a pistol belonging to her husband. In the house, police found blood everywhere — in the kitchen where her naked body was found, in the front entry, the living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and on Truman.

Orem police Sgt. Orlando Ruiz testified Friday that Truman told him he had bickered with his wife about various things — what dog breeds were ugly, the amount of time he spent that day working on a motorcycle, and whether he went into the house to eat dinner as soon as his wife finished preparing it — but he said they weren't fighting loudly.

Preliminary hearing testimony is expected to resume Wednesday.

Colette Dahl — Conrad Truman's sister — has said 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.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller

Courts • Conrad Truman is accused of killing his wife, Heidy Truman, in 2012.
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