Tearful Testimony In Salina Murder Trial
Todd Pittenger - March 26, 2014 12:57 pm
The Kansas Supreme Court is narrowly divided over whether two brothers needed to have separate capital murder trials for a robbery and rape spree that left four people dead in Wichita in December 2000.
Jurors heard tearful testimony as a Salina murder trial continued Wednesday morning.
Among those testifying in the trial for Dane DeWeese, one of three people accused in last Spring’s disappearance and murder of 27-year-old Kristin Tyler, was Kimberly “Kimmie” French.
French, crying at times, testified that she had ran away from home last Spring, and was living with Joel Heil, one of the other defendants in the case, in a house on North 13th Street. French was 17-years-old at the time.
French said that on the night Tyler disappeared, Dane DeWeese came over to Heil’s house and told home that Tyler was at his house on West Walnut. She said that she heard the men discussing “handling the money situation”. She believed it to mean confronting Tyler over money which they believed she stole from DeWeeses’s garage, a location where they gathered to get high.
French testified that when Heil left, he took with him a short, thick, heavy chain that he sometimes carried. He left her his cell phone, with instructions to use it so it would appear that he was at home
French said that Heil later returned to the house, “out of breath and exhausted”. DeWeese arrived a short time later. She said both men’s clothes were wet and muddy.
French said she got a white trash bag for the men to put the dirty clothes into, then poured bleach and cleaner into it.
French testified that she and Heil later walked over to a nearby friend’s house. While at the house, she said that Heil told them that he and DeWeese had killed Tyler, saying “she just wouldn’t die” and that they had to keep putting her in the water.
French said that she did not immediately tell police what happened because she was scared, and feared what DeWeese and Heil might do to her, or her family.
Kristin Tyler disappeared on April 25th. Her body was discovered on May 9th, just west of Salina on Stimmel Road below Interstate 135. Numerous law enforcement officers had been searching the area, and a sheriff deputy on patrol made the discovery.
Deweese, Heil, and 21-year-old Megan Wells, all of Abilene, are charged in the case. Shortly after the body was found police arrested Heil and DeWeese. Wells was arrested on February 26th of this year.
DeWeese’s trial is expected to last through next week.