Murder trial moves into second day of testimony
HENNEPIN — The second day of testimony Thursday in the trial regarding Deborah Dewey’s death saw two witnesses take the stand and provide statements refuting Clifford A. Andersen Jr.’s version of his actions and whereabouts on the days in question.
Andersen, 68, is charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of the homicidal death of Dewey, his sister-in-law. He’s accused of killing Dewey, 62, of Ladd and is being held on $1.5 million bond. He faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole.
Dewey was reported missing Aug. 23, 2016; her body was found that Sept. 12 in the yard of a home in Standard of which Andersen was the caretaker and only blocks from his residence.
Witnesses testifying early on Thursday included Marcelo Castaneda and David Johnson. Castaneda is an employee of Johnson’s Pharmacy, which is owned by Johnson, in Spring Valley. Their testimony established some of Dewey’s final actions on the day which she was last seen alive.
Dewey’s niece, Dena Guiliano, took the stand and described Andersen’s demeanor during the time before Dewey’s body was found. She found her uncle’s behavior suspicious, and she included Andersen in a list of things she provided to investigators for them to explore.
She also testified regarding text messages received from her aunt, Diane Andersen, who is Clifford Andersen’s wife. Guiliano’s testimony, as well as later testimony from Linda Leslie and Shirley Soens, two of Dewey’s sisters, included references to Andersen’s excuse of riding horses while searching for Dewey as to why he smelled of manure and appeared exhausted.
Manure was found covering the shallow grave of Dewey, and Andersen is also on surveillance footage purchasing multiple large bags of manure. A bag of the same brand of manure was also found near where the body was located.
Andersen told his wife that he’d been riding horses with a friend, Jack Sims. Sims testified he hadn’t seen Andersen in years and that he hadn’t ridden a horse since he was 16 years old. The defense, led by Drew and Rob Parker, of Parker and Parker Law Firm, of Peoria, had no questions for Sims.
Another friend of Andersen’s, Bob Hundt, initially lied to investigators at Andersen’s request about giving him a ride home from the truck stop in Morris where Dewey’s car was recovered. Hundt had told investigators he’d picked Andersen up in Ottawa, but later recanted his statement. He testified he’d actually picked up Andersen in Morris and confirmed their identity on a surveillance video. The defense had no cross-examination questions for Hundt, either.
Andersen and Dewey were both regulars at the Denny’s restaurant in Peru’s Flying J truck stop. Manager Mary Kay Mainard and waitress Brandy O’Connell both testified as to the frequency of their visits, Andersen’s general demeanor and behavior, and also his gambling and tipping habits. O’Connell also made statements regarding the day she witnessed Andersen parking a car far from where he normally parked and get into a different vehicle and leave.
The final testimony of the day Thursday was from Illinois State Police investigator Michael Galletti, who methodically described the investigation procedures and how he found Dewey’s body at the Standard home, as well as the suspicious behavior of a vehicle in the area. Galletti said after several slow approaches and U-turns, he eventually learned the vehicle was being driven by Andersen because he finally approached the scene and spoke with them.