Defendant had history of 15 loans at more than 78 percent interest
HENNEPIN — DNA samples taken from a blood stain on the left wheel of a carpet cleaner seized from the home of Clifford A. Andersen Jr. have linked him with the crime scene and the murder of Deborah Dewey.
Forensic scientist Jennifer MacRitchie testified Wednesday in Putnam County Circuit Court that the blood splatters on the wall and door within the vacant house at 104 Fifth St. in Standard matched Dewey's DNA.
The DNA degradation in the majority of the areas tested on the cleaner was attributed to the action of the machine's cleaning fluid, but one sample did provide investigators with a breakthrough.
A sample taken from the inside of the left wheel contained a mix of three different people's DNA, with Andersen's being the dominant profile. The second most significant profile belonged to Dewey, and the third was ruled to exclude the DNA profiles of Diane Andersen, Christopher Dewey and Nathan Andersen.
Evidence from the "blood-caked clump of fibers" taken from the cleaner was inconclusive, but MacRitchie said the fibers weren't similar to the fibers of the carpet found in the vacant home.
Other evidence tested for DNA, including Andersen's shoes, vehicles, duct tape and tarp fragments and the hammers found at the home, were all found to be unusable mixtures of multiple people, incomplete or inconclusive.
Andersen, 68, of Standard, is on trial in Putnam County, 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 by Illinois State Police investigators in the yard of a home in Standard of which Andersen was the caretaker and only blocks from his residence.
Misty Prueter, a former representative of Sun Loan Company, testified that Andersen's account history comprised of a series of 15 loans at 78.25 percent interest.
On Aug. 22, 2016, the day of Dewey's disappearance, Andersen was delinquent on a payment of approximately $151. Prueter said phone calls are made daily to delinquent account holders beginning at 8:30 a.m. and done alphabetically.
She said Andersen was "usually carefree" during previous interactions, but said he seemed rushed that morning.
"This time he wasn't carefree," she said, adding that Andersen told her he'd pay by Aug. 24.
Brenda Jensen, of Eureka Savings, testified regarding Dewey's distribution of her individual retirement account's certificate of deposit.
Opened with a balance of roughly $175,000, Dewey withdrew $107,000 over the course of 2015 and 2016. Jensen also testified that in "general conversation" during one of Dewey's many withdrawals, she had casually asked whether Dewey was remodeling.
"Just helping someone out," is what Jensen said Dewey told her.
Technical difficulties with videos and audio recordings continue to plague the prosecution led by Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward.
They were unable to make a recording of a jailhouse phone call from Peoria between Andersen and his wife, Diane, decipherable. Due to the quality of the recording, Judge Stephen Kouri said he decided the jury will be provided a transcript of the call when it's played for them during the next day of testimony scheduled for Thursday.
Elward said the call will show Andersen realized his story wasn't satisfactory and that he needed to develop a story regarding his actions related to Dewey's disappearance.
"We're about to the end," Kouri told the jury Wednesday afternoon before complimenting their dedication and dismissing them for the day. Kouri and the legal teams then began work on the rules for deliberation in anticipation of the jury taking the case on Friday.