The term “double jeopardy” had new meaning in a Jefferson County courtroom last week, as the murder trial of Daniel DeWild got underway, with the …
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The term “double jeopardy” had new meaning in a Jefferson County courtroom last week, as the murder trial of Daniel DeWild got underway, with the defendant’s identical twin brother David serving as the prosecution’s star witness.
Daniel DeWild, 40, stands accused of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of his estranged wife Heather (Springer) DeWild.
She was last seen alive on July 24, 2003, just one week before her divorce was to be finalized.
Her body was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in Clear Creek Canyon two months later. The DeWild twins, and David’s wife Roseanne DeWild, were charged with first-degree murder in December 2011.
The following July, David met with the Jeffco DA’s office, and worked out a plea agreement for his “truthful testimony” against his brother, in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Roseanne DeWild’s charges were dropped, after investigators became convinced that she was not part of the murder plot.
With the defendant’s table and the witness box only a few yards from each other, the twins appeared to never make eye contact.
“How close were you to your brother,” Chief Deputy DA Bob Weiner asked David DeWild, whose testimony filled up most of day two and part of day three of the trial.
“Very close,” David said.
“How close are you now?”
“I think we’re going our separate ways,” David replied.
Under direct examination David described how his brother grew increasingly angry about his impending divorce, and began talking about wanting to kill Heather DeWild.
He said the two made plans about where to hide the body, and how to cover up evidence.
Defense attorneys raised questions about David’s trustworthiness after lying to investigators for nine years, and raised the theory that David was the one with motive to kill.
“David, did Heather reject your advances in 2003? Did you kill her in 2003? Or did you just not want your brother to go through the same kind of painful divorce you did?” Defense attorney Tom Ward said during cross-examination.
On July 24, 2003, Daniel asked Heather DeWild over to his house. She brought their children, ages 3 and 5.
David testified that he was in the garage when his twin lured Heather DeWild there to kill her.
“He throws her to the ground. He picks up a rubber mallet and hits her in the head,” David said to the court.
“She didn’t know what was going on. She looked to the left and to the right. She looked me right in the eye and had a look like `help me,’” David said. “I’m the last thing she saw and I didn’t help her.”
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