PEORIA - The Nathan Leuthold murder trial is grabbing national attention.
This second day focused on testimony from law enforcement who responded to the scene on Valentine's Day 2013. It also included those who searched the home the next day.
Nathan Leuthold faces charges of first-degree murder. Police say he shot and killed his wife, Denise, and staged it to look like a home break-in.
On Tuesday, a total of 11 people took the stand to give their testimony. Seven of those witnesses were from the Peoria Police Department.
Timothy Moore was the first witness. He works for the Peoria Police Department and was a detective on the case.
Moore conducted the search of the home at 700 W. Mossville road the day after Mrs. Leuthold's death.
He identified a photo of a desk next to a bed in the home. In that desk he found lots of documents and notes. He mentioned finding a maroon day planner.
Both that planner and one of its contents was used as evidence.
The note, said to be written by Denise, was inside. Assistant State's Attorney Jodi Hoos had Moore read that note in its entirety.
Here are some excerpts from that:
"What on earth could you possibly be thinking?"
"You reject me every time"
"I wish I could hate you. I've tried to hate you"
"You're the only person who thinks I am a bad mother"
The prosecution argues that note was a letter from Denise to Nathan Leuthold.
The writing also mentions an alleged affair with a 20-year-old. Prosecution argues that is a reference to Aina Dobilaite, a Lithuanian student who was the Leuthold's sponsored.
Denise's mother returned to the witness stand. During her short time there, she identified the handwriting on the letter found in the maroon day planner as her daughter, Denise's.
The victim's mother and Detective Moore were two of five witnesses to take the stand before noon Tuesday. Three other Peoria Police officers, including Officer Moore, were among those witnesses.
The prosecution team is having them walk everyone through what went on that day. The defense has tried to shed light on some missing information.
Before the lunch break, the courtroom heard from two Crime Scene Unit officers, Scott Bowers and Timothy Wong.
Both were asked to identify some of the evidence submitted by the State. That evidence included pictures of the house, pictures of Denise’s body, pictures from inside the house, and pictures from Robinson Park, which is where Denise’s car was found.
Some of the pictures inside the house included change jars that appeared untouched and Denise’s purse, which had $70.00 cash showing from inside. The prosecution seemed to be questioning the validity of if someone broke in, why was the money was still there.
Richard Linthicum, the Peoria Police officer that responded to the reported burglary on Feb. 14, 2013 expressed some suspicions with the reported break-in.
He noted the open cabinets and drawers. He said robbers don’t usually rummage through the kitchen, so that gave him some initial uneasiness.
Linthicum went on to explain that Nathan Leuthold was at 703 W. Mossville, across the street from his in-laws house where he and his family were staying, when he arrived.
Leuthold stayed there, never asking any questions while Linthicum surveyed the house.
The defense sprung on Linthicum when he brought up Leuthold not inquiring about anything. Defense Attorney Hugh Toner asked why Linthicum would want someone asking questions during a serious investigation.
Linthicum responded that it is the nature of his job. He said he is used to citizens being worried about their homes. He also added that Leuthold did not ask any questions when he grabbed his ballistic shield.
Officer Timothy Wong was next. Wong talked about gathering evidence and properly transferring it to the crimes lab.
He also identified some of the evidence used for the trial. Some of that evidence included Denise's cell phone (which he noted was missing the battery), a black, hooded sweatshirt, and a fired bullet.
Officer Scott Bowers labeled a large layout of the house, showing the relationship of the rooms. Bowers, who works in the CSI unit, explained his role in gathering evidence from the scene.
He noted that there was a jar and a jug with lots of coins in them, but that the alleged burglar had not taken those. He says that was peculiar.
The courtroom took a lunch break around noon, but picked things back up with Bowers afterwards.
When given his chance for questioning, Leuthold's attorney talked about why a burglar may choose not to steal jars of change.
Two other notable witnesses, both experts in their field, were Dustin Johnson and Katelyn Bruno.
Johnson is a Forensic Scientist with the Illinois State Police. He specializes in firearms and says his research leads him to believe the gun that was used to kill Denise was a .40-caliber Glock.
Leuthold's gun fits that qualification, but, as the defense pointed out, Glocks are very common.
Bruno, who specializes in forensic comparison of handwriting, says she is certain the letter found in Denise's day-planner was written by Denise.
WMBD's Marvis Herring is in the courtroom and will have more updates on day two of the Leuthold trial soon. He also has live updates on Twitter.
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