Mixed verdict for DeWild

Posted 11/27/12

Nine years after Heather DeWild was killed and buried in a shallow grave in Clear Creek Canyon, her estranged husband has been found guilty of …

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Mixed verdict for DeWild

Posted

Nine years after Heather DeWild was killed and buried in a shallow grave in Clear Creek Canyon, her estranged husband has been found guilty of conspiracy to kill her, but not of the murder itself.

After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for a day and-a-half before delivering the verdicts of guilty on two charges against 40-year-old Daniel Donald DeWild — conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on one count of first-degree murder.

Judge Christopher J. Munch presided over the trial, and declared a mistrial on the murder count. He set a new trial date of Jan. 8 to retry DeWild.

The two felony convictions mean DeWild could be sentenced to 16 to 54 years in prison, according to First Judicial District Attorney Scott Storey.

“It might have been a little disappointing, but not totally, because for eight long years we weren’t sure we were ever going to have justice for Heather’s death,” Heather’s father David Springer said following the verdict.

Springer and Heather’s sister, Rebecca Barger, thanked the investigators and prosecutors who worked to bring the 2003 cold case to trial.

“He didn’t get away with it, not completely,” Barger said.

The prosecution said Daniel DeWild lured Heather to his house a week before their divorce was to be finalized. Once in the house, Daniel allegedly threw her to the ground in his garage, and killed her with a mallet.

Daniel’s twin brother, David, testified to the murder, saying he had helped his brother dispose of Heather’s car and body.

Family members said hearing testimony of how Heather died was gruesome.

“It was hard because it does make it fresh again. It makes it real, and it makes her suffering real. But the truth is better than not knowing, for sure,” Barger said.

Daniel DeWild remains in Jefferson County Jail on a $1 million bond. Sentencing on his two convictions will be delayed until after the murder count is settled. David DeWild reached a plea agreement in August, pleading guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit murder. He, too, will be charged after the retrial.

Storey said he would be meeting privately with the family and with his prosecuting team to discuss the first trial and how to proceed.

“I think we put on a good case. I feel like we met our burden of proof on all charges. Some of the jury felt otherwise,” Storey said.

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