WEST JORDAN — Eugene Christopher Wright could not have killed anyone Nov. 15, 2007, because he was home sick with food poisoning, his wife testified Tuesday.
Wright is charged with gunning down Kenneth Dolezsar around 7 a.m. that day in the parking lot of a Sandy Village Inn. Wright is accused of murder and aggravated robbery.
Bianca Pearman-Brooks, Wright's wife, said the couple had gone out to eat the night before and, hours later, both were vomiting from what she believed was food poisoning. Her husband was "terribly, terribly sick" and was in the bathroom throwing up sometime between 6:30 and 7 that morning, she said.
"At 7 a.m., he was back in bed with me," Pearman-Brooks said. "He is never sick, so I remember it clearly."
She said her husband left to go to Park City for work-related matters around 9 a.m., then came home. Both still felt queasy, but they eventually went to lunch.
Pearman-Brooks, who is from England, also said she was responsible for losing a 9 mm handgun that Wright owned. They had taken visiting English friends out shooting in a remote area near the Great Salt Lake, and Pearman-Brooks said she had set one of four guns down in the grass and apparently forgot to repack it in a gun bag when the day was over.
She told four people about this but made friends promise not to say anything to Wright. It was their first year of marriage, and she didn't want him to get upset, because her propensity for losing items had become a source of friction, Pearman-Brooks said.
"I lost two sets of house keys one month earlier," she said. "I lose jewelry all the time."
Pearman-Brooks also said a friend and neighbor, David Novak, had a key to the couple's condo.
Prosecutors are convinced Wright is the person who disguised himself in a pony-tailed wig and killed Dolezsar with a 9 mm handgun. However, defense attorneys have been pointing instead at Novak, who previously was sentenced to prison for trying to profit from faking his death. Both Wright and Dolezsar were involved in business dealings with Novak, who was found guilty of wire fraud and spent time in federal prison.
Jonathan Ladd, an English banker and lawyer for whom Pearman-Brooks had worked, was one of the people visiting the couple and said Pearman-Brooks did often misplace things.
"She had extraordinary capabilities in other areas, but keeping track of everyday items isn't one of them," Ladd said. "I've said to people that if her legs weren't attached to her body, she'd lose them."
Ladd said he once gave her a cell phone as she was getting into a car, and after he drove less than a mile, she had somehow lost the phone. He said Pearman-Brooks was "completely frantic" about the missing gun.
Earlier in the day, Dee Mower, the widow of Kenneth Dolezsar, took the stand and wept as she described her husband as her "best friend" and told the 10-member jury she had never heard the name Eugene Christopher Wright.
Mower, speaking in a soft voice and pausing often to wipe away tears, testified she had assumed Dolezsar was meeting with David Novak on Nov. 15, 2007.
When Dolezsar was killed, Mower was in a federal prison on tax fraud matters — and she maintains her innocence in that to this day.
Mower said she was "coerced" into meeting Novak, who had been recommended by the attorney for her former husband, Tom Mower, who also was in trouble for tax fraud. Dee Mower, Tom Mower and their lawyers all met with Novak before the Mowers were sentenced.
Dee Mower testified that Novak had promised he could pull strings to get Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to seek a commutation for the anticipated prison time from President George W. Bush. She was skeptical of Novak's claims and said she had "a bad feeling" about him.
Dee Mower, who had been divorced from Tom Mower for years and married Dolezsar in 2003, paid Novak $25,000 for the help he promised, and her ex-husband paid the same amount. Both ended up going to prison anyway.
Dolezsar, who visited Dee Mower in a California prison each weekend, continued to communicate with Novak.
Unbeknownst to Dee Mower, Dolezsar loaned or paid Novak between $1 million and $2 million.
"I begged him not to associate with that man," Mower said. "I was not aware of Kenny giving that sort of money to that man."
Novak was interviewed by police after Dolezsar's killing but disappeared after Wright was arrested. His whereabouts are unknown, officials said.