HENNEPIN — Witnesses in the murder trial of a Standard man painted a picture in Putnam County Court on Tuesday of what would have been Deborah Dewey’s final resting place, had the Ladd woman’s body not been found by authorities Sept. 12 in the yard of a home her brother-in-law was taking care of, nearly a month after she was reported missing.
The 62-year-old was dumped in a 13-inch grave at 104 S. Fifth St, wrapped in a blue tarp, her feet bound together with rope, and covered with branches, straw, and manure, according to testimony at the trial of Clifford Andersen Jr., 68, the man accused of killing his sister-in-law and hiding her body.
Andersen is being held on $1.5 million bond, charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of the homicidal death of Dewey. He faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole.
As photos of Dewey’s body flashed across a large screen in the courtroom, and the man accused of her murder looked on, State Police Crime Scene Investigator Darrell Stafford described the scene in the yard.
Other evidence included photos of the inside of the residence, where blood splatters were found on the wall and a door, as well as a large blood stain on the carpet. Fragments of a blue tarp similar to the one the body was wrapped in also were found nearby, as well as insect larvae and gray hairs. Telltale marks on the entry door’s threshold indicated something – or someone – had been dragged across it.
During cross examination, Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward requested Stafford, while raising his voice and looking directly at Andersen, “remind the jurors of what was found wrapped around the victim’s feet.”
“A rope,” Stafford said.
“Which was used to drag the victim outside and into the grave,” Elward said, again looking at Andersen.
“That’s the believed scenario, yes,” Stafford said.
The same type of rope was one of the many items recovered when investigators searched Andersen’s residence.
Kevin Zeeb, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, testified the carpet cleaner seized from Andersen’s home tested positive for blood on the cord, wheels and in the brush.
Other items, however, including both of Andersen’s vehicles, tested negative for the presence of blood. Straw and debris were found inside his cellphone case.
Day 6 of testimony will begin this morning; the trial is expected to through this week.