Cellular confusion also arises during the fourth day of testimony
HENNEPIN — According to Judge Stephen Kouri, Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward’s repeated attempts to include barred testimony during the trial of Clifford A. Andersen Jr. on Monday was “flirting with mistrial.”
Andersen, 68, of Standard is charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of the homicidal death of Deborah Dewey, 62, of Ladd. If convicted, Andersen 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 Standard home for which Andersen was the caretaker and only blocks from his residence.
Leslie Duntemann, a Veterans Administration social worker, met with Andersen in the Bureau County Jail to discuss his medical care. The prosecution sought to use her testimony regarding Andersen’s statements during their conversation about purchasing a large amount of manure. A bag of the same brand of manure was found where Dewey’s body was found.
Elward has argued the conversation should be admissible because Andersen himself acknowledges during the meeting that he knew it was being recorded. Judge Stephen Kouri barred this testimony during a pre-trial hearing because of a confidentiality statute. He said the only way he’d rule it admissible is if the prosecution could present a waiver signed by Andersen.
“You’re inviting a reversal on appeal. I’d rather do this once, than twice. You’re flirting with a mistrial by trying to introduce barred evidence,” Kouri told Elward before the lunch break.
Elward said he’d produce the waiver during the afternoon session, and at the end of the day, he presented Kouri with the waiver as Duntemann waited on the stand.
Kouri inspected the waiver and told Elward it only regarded Andersen’s request for his own medical information.
The defense objected to Elward’s attempt, with attorney Drew Parker saying, “This is not a proper forum for her to violate confidentiality.”
“I think you know this document doesn’t satisfy the statute, and I’m not going to allow it,” Kouri said firmly to Elward before dismissing Duntemann.
The prosecution spent the afternoon establishing Jeff Motter, with AT&T; Lynn McCloskey, with the Illinois State Police (ISP); Matt Windisch, with the ISP; and Shelly Moore, with IV Cellular, as respective cellular communication information experts.
No definitive outline of Andersen’s actions on Aug. 22-23, 2016 was clear, but they did establish a series of phone calls had been made between Andersen and Dewey; Andersen and his wife, Diane Andersen; and Andersen and witness Bob Hundt, as well as where they had possibly originated and ended.
The court learned, however, that two separate documents had the same evidence number.
“There have been 50,000 documents shared between the two parties, and there’s been a mistake. I find no fault with either attorney in this confusion,” Kouri told the jury before dismissing them for the day.
Testimony regarding Andersen’s cellular records was scheduled to continue on July 17.
Other testimony on July 16 included Morris attorney Robert Geiger, who assisted Dewey with her divorce in 2010. Regarding the divorce, Geiger testified Andersen “had a level of interest that was unusual.”
Melanie Zeigler, of LaSalle and a Denny’s waitress, cried while testifying about her relationship with Andersen, saying “he was very close to me, like a father.”
She said Andersen was at Denny’s almost every day and that Dewey was there occasionally. She described him as a generous tipper and how he had also paid for repairs and maintenance to her vehicle.
Hundt, who previously testified about initially lying to investigators about actually picking Andersen up at the truck stop in Morris where Dewey’s car was recovered, rather than Ottawa where they’d both said they’d been “helping veterans,” once again became part of the trial’s testimony.
As well as writing Andersen letters in jail, Ziegler testified about receiving a phone call from Andersen on Sept. 26, 2016, while he was in jail. It was concerning his “buddy, Bob,” and that while he said he couldn’t tell her more on the phone, Andersen said “Bob can get himself in trouble, and tell him he should shut the [expletive] up.”
Ziegler said Hundt was often referred to as “Slow Bob” and she said he was called that because “he’s slow to walk, slow to talk and slow to think.”
Regarding this phone call, Ziegler also testified to calling Diane Andersen before informing the ISP.
Before the day’s proceedings were underway, Kouri announced a juror had been relieved for reasons unrelated to the case, and one of the alternates filled his seat.