In today’s legal system, a motion for new trial is typical in a murder case.
Now, nearly three years after an Orem woman’s murder, her imprisoned husband — the man found by a jury to be guilty of the crime — is appealing his case.
What is different about Conrad Truman’s appeal for a new trial is the reasoning behind it. According to the motion filed last Friday, his wife, Heidy Truman, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, rather than at the hands of her husband.
Additionally, the motion argues Orem police did not do their due diligence in investigating her death, and that the prosecution presented “false and misleading theories” to influence the jury.
Conrad Truman, 34, was found guilty by a jury in October 2014 of murder in the death of his wife. Prosecutors argued Truman shot his wife after an argument, and claimed he wanted to capitalize on the couple's life insurance policy. The defense, however, argued Heidy Truman may have accidentally shot herself.
Craig Johnson, the lead prosecutor in the case, said he feels Truman's new defense attorneys, Mark Moffat and Ann Taliaferro, have gone too far with their accusations.
“They’ve crossed the line here, and that’s disappointing as fellow attorneys here,” he said. “They’ve gone past just arguing the facts and are putting their opinions here and are going with direct attacks.”
Johnson said if there is new information that may support the defense’s claims, he is open to hearing it. But he hasn’t seen anything in the defense’s motion that makes him think otherwise.
“Nothing within the 200 pages makes us think anything is different,” he said. “They’re going after these various issues as red-herring issues.”
The motion provides several details the defense states is evidence for a new trial.
“I can no longer state with medical or scientific certainty which individual fired the fatal shot," Edward Leis, a medical examiner, states in the motion. “I can no longer rule out the possibility that Heidy Truman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound of the head."
"That’s reasonable doubt there," Moffat said. "There’s an injustice here, and there is an innocent man sitting in prison."
In addition to the claim that Heidy Truman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the motion cites countless other claims in an effort to throw out the jury’s previous verdict.
"This goes beyond just a mistake," Taliaferro said. "It’s the cover up that’s the problem here."
One claim is that investigating Orem police officers destroyed gunshot residue by asking Conrad Truman to wash his hands. Additionally, Heidy Truman’s hands were not checked for gunshot residue, according to the motion.
The motion also claims the prosecution of misconduct that “[offended] due process of law.”
“It’s hurtful. We’re professionals, but we’re people too,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to respond in kind. I’ll let the verdict speak for my response.”
Conrad Truman is serving 16 years to life in prison for one first-degree felony charge of murder and one second-degree felony charge of obstruction of justice.
No future court date has yet been set.