11 witnesses testify, Bliefnick murder trial resumes Wednesday
QUINCY (WGEM) - The jury trial of Timothy Bliefnick, the Quincy man being charged with fatally shooting his estranged wife began Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
The trial started with opening statements.
Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones began his remarks with an account of what happened the night Rebecca Bliefnick was murdered.
Jones said Rebecca was alone in the home, her three children were supposed to be at Timothy’s house, she heard someone break into an upstairs window, then she ran to her bedroom.
Once in the bedroom, Jones said she tried to shut the door, but it was forcibly opened by the intruder. Rebecca then went to a bathroom attached to the bedroom where she was shot 14 times.
During the prosecutors opening statements, Jones claimed Timothy Bliefnick left behind multiple mistakes that ultimately lead to his arrest. One being that bits and pieces of an Aldi bag were scattered on and around Rebecca’s body. Jones said her DNA was found on a bag in Timothy’s home during a police search weeks after the murder.
“They say when you confront your death your life flashes in front of your eyes, we will never know what was going through Becky’s mind as she lay there, alone, slowly bleeding to death, her heart beat slowing, her breath fading, her life and her blood draining away,” Jones said.
Jones claims Bliefnick used the bag as part of a homemade silencer.
Jones said police searched Bliefnick’s laptop and phone. He said in the search history investigators found “average QPD response times” and “how to open a door with a crowbar.”
While searching Bliefnick’s home, police found a crowbar which Jones said matches to exact detail the one that was used to open the window on Kentucky Road. Bliefnick’s attorney Casey Schnack argued the crime lab results of the crowbar came back inconclusive.
Jones also made jurors aware of the divorce the Bliefnick’s were going through.
“The divorce was contentious to say the least,” Jones said. “The only way the defendant had to make sure the three boys chose him over her was to eliminate her as a choice.”
Because Bliefnick is being held without bond, he has the right to a speedy trial.
Schnack said investigators took around six pairs of shoes from her client’s home to see if they matched footprints at the scene, she said none of them did.
Surveillance video from a next door neighbor, Schnack believes, is a crucial part of the case.
The witness of that home testified and said he received several notifications from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22 that someone was walking on his property. On Feb. 22 he said he received two notifications.
“They did find some video of somebody going somewhere, but that’s all the video shows,” Schnack said. “You don’t know if this is a man or a woman, you don’t know if they’re young or old, we don’t know what race they are.”
More of Rebecca’s neighbors who lived on Kentucky Road also took the stand, claiming they didn’t hear gun fire or any strange noise the night of her murder.
Following the opening statements several witnesses took the stand including Rebecca’s father. He testified that Timothy texted him the day of the murder asking if Rebecca was picking the kids up from school because she didn’t respond to him.
Judge Robert Adrian called a recess for lunch around 11:30 a.m. Proceedings resumed at 1 p.m.
In the afternoon session, Quincy Police officer Matt Hermsmeier gave his account of what he saw at Rebecca’s home the day she was found. He was the dispatched officer and arrived at 3:33 p.m. that day.
Rebecca’s sister Sarah also took the stand. She gave her account of how she found out about the death as well as what she knew about Rebecca’s significant other, Ted Johnson, at the time.
Johnson said the last time he saw her was the evening of Feb. 21 when he tucked Rebecca in bed and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
No media outlets will be allowed to broadcast or stream the trial live. However, WGEM News will be in the courtroom throughout the trial and will live blog via Twitter throughout the trial.
On Monday, it took almost a full 9 hours to select the 12 jurors and 4 alternates for the trial.
Entering Monday’s jury selection, the jury pool stood at 71 people. However, prosecutors and the defense questioned only 47 to get the 16 they needed.
The witness list consists of more than 120 names. 30 of which are affiliated with Quincy Police Department, less than five are affiliated with Adams County Ambulance, more than 10 are affiliated with the Illinois State Police and the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. Another 98 or so miscellaneous names fill out the list.
Bliefnick faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion. If found guilty, he could face up to life in prison.
Bliefnick was arrested on March 13 and has been lodged in the Adams County Jail without bond ever since.
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