Prosecutors focus on evidence collection for day 3 of Bliefnick trial
QUINCY (WGEM) - The jury trial of Timothy Bliefnick, the Quincy man being charged with fatally shooting his estranged wife continued Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
--UPDATE: 9:39 a.m.--
Timothy Bliefnick’s computer
Several witnesses took the stand Thursday morning in regard to the seizing and investigation of Timothy Bliefnick’s laptop. Jarrod Evans, who worked with Bliefnick at Quincy Farm Products, said he gave him a work laptop that would allow Bliefnick to work remotely.
During Evans’ testimony, he said he was asked to get Bliefnick’s laptop following Rebecca Bliefnick’s death. Evans did and gave it to the Quincy Police Department.
Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney, and the prosecutor in this case, Josh Jones, showed the jury that specific laptop.
A pair of digital forensic examiners from Illinois State Police took the stand thereafter. Mark Scheflick said he was responsible for supplying QPD with information about the laptop.
Evans used a right blocker, then a program called Axiom to retrieve information. He gave QPD a hard drive with what he found. Kip Baumann then testified. Baumann explained the process he took in examining Bliefnick’s phone and iPad.
On Tuesday, Jones said QPD found that Bliefnick had searched “average Quincy Police Dept. response times,” also “how to make a homemade silencer,” and also “how to open a door with a crowbar.”
During cross-examination, Schnack asked if the information retrieved was a general information dump, rather than retrieving specifics. Baumann answered yes.
--UPDATE: 10:05 a.m.--
Surveillance footage requests
Later Wednesday morning, prosecutors inquired about QPD’s request to obtain surveillance footage. Michael Price of United Systems testified. It’s his job to install and maintain video surveillance systems.
During his testimony, he said he was requested to retrieve footage from a residence on South 20th. Price obtained the video of the private residence but it wasn’t mentioned why he was asked or what was shown in the video.
The surveillance he retrieved was dated Feb. 14, Feb. 21, and Feb. 22.
Afterward, Quincy Public Schools Security Secretary Lynn Breeden took the stand. Breeden was also asked by QPD to obtain surveillance video. She cooperated, supplying QPD with tapes from Feb. 13 to Feb. 28 between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. The video she said was from a camera at the bus barn.
Breeden said she was never asked to retrieve footage before or after those specific dates. Breeden was released from her subpoena and court went into morning recess. Jones expects the next witness to take roughly an hour.
30 witnesses have testified this week, 6 of them Thursday.
--UPDATE: 10:56 a.m.--
Prosecutors detail the inside of Rebecca’s home the day of the murder
Coming back from morning recess, QPD Crime Scene Technician Emily Pezzella took the stand. This is the witness Jones anticipated taking around an hour to testify. Pezzella was called to Rebecca’s home on Kentucky Road the evening of Feb. 23.
Pezzella took many pictures of the inside and outside of the home. Evidence shown by prosecutors detailed the upstairs, downstairs and outside of the home.
Evidence shown to the jury indicated the intruder used an outdoor chair from a furniture set in the backyard to climb to the second floor. More photographs detailed the broken window frame and glass the intruder used as a point of entry.
Photos of the downstairs showed blankets, nursing books and a laptop in the living room including a purse hanging on the wall.
Upstairs photographs detailed what happened once the intruder gained access. Many shell casings scattered the bedroom area where Rebecca was shot. Additionally, a damaged door to that same bedroom.
Pezzella detailed up-close pictures of Rebecca at the crime scene. She was found with bullet holes in her hands, her torso and other places. Rebecca was laying on her back when she was found.
Jones pointed out the plastic bag remnants that were left behind. Tuesday, Jones said Timothy Bliefnick used an Aldi bag as part of a homemade silencer.
--UPDATE: 11:23 a.m.--
Schnack cross examines Pezzella
During Casey Schnack’s cross-examination, she inquired about what items were seized from Timothy Bliefnick’s home on March 1. Pezzella was at Bliefnick’s home that day as part of the investigation.
Pezzella said they collected numerous crowbars, one of which was sent to the crime lab. She said the crowbars found in the detached garage were not sent because they appeared to not have been used for some time.
A multitool was also found. The crowbar found in the basement was tested for DNA by the Illinois State Crime Lab.
Pezzella said she returned to Rebecca’s home on Kentucky Road on Feb. 24 to assist with collecting the window that was used to break into the house.
The court took a recess for lunch at 11:23 a.m.
--UPDATE: 1:56 p.m.--
The evidence seized from Timothy Bliefnick’s house
The first witness to take the stand Thursday afternoon was QPD Detective Sgt. Bryan Dusch. He was part of the team that searched Timothy Bliefnick’s home on March 1. Some of the items, as presented in photographic evidence by prosecutors, included a bike with a rear flat tire that was located in the garage. Dusch said many pairs of gloves were found at the home including a set of disposable gloves. He said there was also a pair of gloves in Bliefnick’s trash can.
They weren’t tested for gunshot residue, however. Dusch said GSR tests are negligible after six hours of the time of a gun being fired. In Schnack’s cross-examination, she asked if there was any chance for a GSR chance to come back conclusive. Dusch said no.
Police also found boxes of ammunition in Bliefnick’s home as well as two gun safes. One finger-pressure detectable safe was located in his bedroom but did not have a gun in it. Dusch said they located a gun holster in the bedroom, however. There were also 9mm rounds of unfired ammunition as well as “spent” 9mm shell casings. 9mm shell casings were also found in Rebecca Bliefnick’s home the day she was found dead.
Dusch also searched Timothy’s laptop, finding pictures he believed to be beneficial to the case. Pictures, as shown to the jury, depicted Timothy Bliefnick firing a CZ75 9mm handgun, as identified by Dusch. Schanck objected to the pictures being shown. Judge Robert Adrian overruled.
Rebecca Bliefnick requested throughout the divorce that Timothy return a CZ75 9mm handgun to her, which her attorneys say never happened.
Police also recovered large Aldi grocery shopping bags.
--UPDATE: 2:25 p.m.--
Quincy police officer Patrick Hollensteiner recovered a blue bicycle near the bus barn on Feb. 27. Hollensteiner claims the bike appeared to be in very good shape and was not abandoned for long. The bike also didn’t have reflectors.
Prosecutors claim a bike was used by Timothy Bliefnick to travel to his estranged wife’s home to shoot her to death. As testified this morning, QPD made a request to retrieve footage from Quincy Public Schools from Feb. 13 to Feb. 28.
During cross-examination, Hollensteiner said he didn’t know how the blue bike got there. Schnack asked if it was at all common to see an abandoned bike around town. Hollensteiner said it happens occasionally.
He said he went door-knocking down Kentucky Road and York Street asking residents if they saw or heard anything out of the ordinary. He said they all responded that they didn’t. Hollensteiner also claims he didn’t recover any viable footage from those residents.
--UPDATE: 2:31 p.m.--
Michael Blaesing sold a bike within the last few months via Facebook. He claims he sold a blue bike with no reflectors to a man of athletic build, who stands just shorter than he does. Blaesing said he’s around 6-feet-7-inches tall.
He didn’t recognize Timothy Bliefnick particularly and said he wouldn’t recognize the buyer if he saw him again. QPD Detective Zach Bemis then took the stand.
Bemis said he was instructed by his authorities to ride a bike, almost identical to the one that was abandoned, from 20th and Hampshire Street to the 2500 block of Kentucky Road. He did a second ride, going from the crime scene on Kentucky Road to the bus barn where a bike was abandoned.
Bemis said each ride only took a few minutes. QPS bus barn footage of the test ride also reflected that.
Timothy’s next-door neighbor
Thursday’s court proceedings concluded with the 12th and final witness, Timothy Bliefnick’s next-door neighbor Bradley Ehmen. During direct examination, Ehmen said Bliefnick asked him in January if he had security cameras, which Ehmen does. Bliefnick then asked if Ehmen had cameras that faced his backyard, which he doesn’t.
During cross-examination, Bliefnick’s attorney Casey Schnack asked Ehemen if he knew why Bliefnick asked this of him. He didn’t. Ehmen did claim to have a past problem with trespassers, as identified by his neighbors.
The jury heard from 36 witnesses total, 12 on Thursday.
Court adjourned at 2:45 p.m. The trial resumes Friday at 9 a.m.
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.
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