WGEM joins news outlets seeking to unseal Bliefnick trial documents

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 5:02 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - WGEM News has partnered with The Herald-Whig and Muddy River News to ask Judge Robert Adrian to reverse his previous ruling to unseal all motions in the trial of Timothy Bliefnick.

Motions filed under seal April 5 by the outlets’ attorneys, Craven and Craven, P.C., asked Adrian to set a hearing date -- open to the public -- “for the purpose of gaining access to the court file and future court hearings in this matter.”

Court records show that Adrian ruled March 16 that “Due to the extensive publicity in this case, all motions and/or pleadings shall be filed under seal.”

The records show the news outlets’ petitions were ordered unsealed Monday “as they do not involve evidentiary matters.”

A hearing on the petitions has been set for 8:45 a.m. April 19.

Leaders from all three organizations issued joint statements Monday evening.

“WGEM is proud to be part of this effort to keep our judicial system open for public review,” said WGEM News Director John Ehrhart. “We look forward to a swift resolution so that our organizations can continue our work to inform our viewers and readers about developments in this case that has shaken our community.”

“An open court system is imperative for maintaining trust in the judiciary,” said Herald-Whig Executive Editor Matt Hopf. “Locally, welcoming cameras in court proceedings has helped the public’s understanding of the judicial system. Accessible records and open court hearings improve that understanding. The Herald-Whig looks forward to having this issue adjudicated.”

“Muddy River News is proud to work with our fellow journalists to ensure the courts remain fully open for this case and others that will come later,” said Muddy River News Publisher and General Manager J. Robert Gough. “A blanket sealing of records, in any case, sets the wrong precedent and is at cross purposes with the public trust.”

Bliefnick was arrested March 13 and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of a home invasion. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

On Feb. 23, police found Rebecca Bliefnick, 41, dead at her home in the 2500 block of Kentucky Road with multiple gunshot wounds.


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