Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Orem man ordered to stand trial in wife's 2012 death

By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

Published: Fri, Jan. 10 5:52 p.m. MST

 Heidy Wagner Truman, 25, died Oct. 1, 2012, from a gunshot wound to the head.

Heidy Wagner Truman, 25, died Oct. 1, 2012, from a gunshot wound to the head.

(Daily Herald Obituary)

PROVO — Every year, Heidy Wagner Truman's family will hike in her memory.

"Our healing journey will continue," her mother, Janet Wagner, said Friday. "Our family promises to be steadfast and strong. … We will continue to honor her memory and be her voice through advocacy for domestic violence awareness."

Heidy Truman died Oct. 1, 2012. Downed by an apparent gunshot wound to the head, her body was found Sept. 30, 2012, lying at the top of a staircase in the home she shared with her husband, Conrad Truman.

Conrad Truman, 31, was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, in her 2012 death. Fourth District Judge Samuel McVey made the decision after hearing the evidence against Truman, who was charged in July.

"Heidy Wagner's family believes justice prevailed today," Janet Wagner said, adding that the family supported the judge's decision and thanking the police officers and prosecutors who investigated her daughter's death.

"We salute the professional and meticulous manner the investigation was conducted for 10 months. The unmeasurable hours spent analyzing forensic processes and the devotion to search for answers in Heidy's death spoke volumes of the dedication to our case," she said.

Police officers testified they were initially called to 220 S. 1180 West on reports of a shooting. Orem Police Cpl. William Crook said Conrad Truman told him he and his wife had been drinking and got into an argument.

Conrad Truman said his wife had gone to take a shower and that he had tried to go in, but was sent away. He told Crook that he then heard a pop.

He told police his wife wasn't suicidal or depressed and that a bullet must have come through the bathroom wall. But no evidence supported the theory, and after Conrad Truman offered confusing explanations and timelines and threatened to kill emergency responders if they didn't save his wife, police testified that they began to suspect they were at a crime scene.

Later, Conrad Truman told a victim's advocate that his wife had been murdered and said he had heard someone yelling outside his home prior to the shooting. But he also questioned whether Heidy Truman had killed herself.

Dr. Edward Leis, Utah's chief deputy medical examiner, said the physical evidence pointed to either murder or suicide, but not an accident. The gun was apparently fired at a close range.

Leis determined Heidy Truman was killed due to a gunshot wound to the head and that the manner of death was homicide. But he said he first classified the manner of death as undetermined and changed it to homicide in July 2013 after additional investigation was completed.

Responding police officers said they found two guns in the home.

Police and prosecutors have said money was Conrad Truman's "primary motive" in killing his wife. Several life insurance policies had been taken out for Heidy Truman, and combined with other benefits he stood to receive $878,767 in the case of his wife's death, despite her $43,000 annual salary, the charges state.

Conrad Truman's family has said the couple was not only happy but financially secure. His sister testified that he was confused by his wife's death and offered various explanations in an effort to understand what happened.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich argued Friday that the evidence failed to show a murder was committed and much less that Conrad Truman was responsible.

An arraignment hearing has been set for Feb. 10.

Contributing: Sam Penrod

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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