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New trial set for Orem man charged with murdering wife

By Kurt Hanson daily Herald - | Aug 15, 2016
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Defense attorney Ann Taliaferro speaks to the press after the first pretrial conference for Conrad Truman, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Truman was previously sentenced 16 years to life for the shooting of his wife in 2012. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Conrad Truman looks toward the spectators during his first pretrial conference, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Truman was previously sentenced 16 years to life for the shooting of his wife in 2012. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Conrad Truman, right, speaks with his defense attorney Mark Moffat during the first pretrial conference for Truman on Aug. 15. Truman was previously sentenced 16 years to life for the shooting of his wife in 2012.

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Prosecuting attorney Craig Johnson speaks to the press after the first pretrial conference for Conrad Truman, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Truman was previously sentenced 16 years to life for the shooting of his wife in 2012. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Defense attorneys Mark Moffat and Ann Taliaferro speak to the press after the first pretrial conference for Conrad Truman, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Truman was previously sentenced 16 years to life for the shooting of his wife in 2012. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

An Orem man found guilty in October 2014 of murdering his wife was in court Monday afternoon for the first hearing after his conviction was thrown out.

Conrad Truman, 34, was granted a new trial Aug. 3 after Judge Samuel McVey determined key measurements of the house where the death occurred were presented incorrectly during the trial.

In late September 2012, Heidy Truman, Conrad Truman’s wife, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Prosecutors argued Truman shot his wife after an argument and claimed he wanted to capitalize on the couple’s life insurance policy.

But defense attorneys countered that no evidence pointed to him being the shooter, offering theories that the gunshot that killed Heidy Truman was either an accident or suicide.

With the corrected evidence, McVey ruled that the theory that Heidy Truman killed herself is no longer impossible, but in fact a plausibility.

Monday’s hearing focused primarily on scheduling upcoming hearings. Truman’s bail will be addressed on Aug. 23 and his defense attorney, Mark Moffat, said he hopes his client can ultimately be out of custody while awaiting his new trial.

Following those discussions, the arduous task of scheduling a new trial began. The new trial will be 16 days long, starting Nov. 1 with jury instruction. Craig Johnson, one of the prosecuting attorneys, believes 110 to 120 potential jurors will be needed to fill a jury bench.

The trial is scheduled to end Dec. 2. There are several holidays, such as Election Day and Thanksgiving, during the trial’s time period, for which court will be closed. McVey also will not hold proceedings on Mondays.

Moffat said he had several preliminary matters he wants heard in court before trial. But McVey declined, saying he wants the focus to be on the trial.

“I don’t want to have a lot of effort go into things at this point. It should go into trial,” McVey said.

Moffat said the defense plans to file a motion to quash Truman’s charges bound over to court. Should the motion be approved by McVey, his case will be dismissed.

“That would be a major blow to the case,” Johnson said. “But as the judge opined, that did not seem like a likely scenario. … That’s the least of our worries.”

New evidence presented by Moffat and his partner, Ann Taliaferro, suggests the measurements of the Truman home were recorded improperly. For example, instead of measuring a hallway as 139 inches, it was recorded by police officers as 13.9 feet.

Taliaferro said that leads to the theory that Heidy Truman fired the fatal shot to her head before walking a few feet forward.

“We just think that every piece of evidence points to the fact that he’s innocent and that unfortunately, the fatal shot was caused by her,” Taliaferro said. “She went nine inches. [This is] completely consistent with a self-inflicted shot.”

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