Orem man accused of killing wife threatened police, paramedics, witnesses say

Published: Friday, Dec. 6 2013 2:45 p.m. MST

Utah Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Edward Leis testifies at Conrad Truman's preliminary hearing in Fourth District Court in Provo, Utah, on Friday, December 6, 2013.

Al Hartmann

PROVO — The victims advocate described a tender scene in a hospital room, a husband who had just lost his wife kissing her head and feet, rubbing her legs and wondering aloud why she would shave her legs when she was planning to kill herself.

But explaining his wife's death as a suicide was only one of many explanations and narratives Conrad Truman offered for Heidy Truman's death, according to a number of witnesses who testified in 4th District Court Friday.

Friday was the first day of a preliminary hearing for the Orem man, 31, who is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony. Police and prosecutors say he murdered his wife for insurance money.

Orem Police Cpl. William Crook was on patrol the night of Sept. 30, 2012, and was dispatched to 220 S. 1180 West on reports of a shooting. He said he arrived at the home to find Conrad Truman in the doorway, screaming for help, with blood on his hands and some of his clothes.

He followed Truman up a set of stairs to the kitchen and saw a woman lying face down, bleeding due to an apparent gunshot wound. "It was clear (the blood) was coming from her head," he said.

In a 911 call played in court, Truman was sobbing and hysterical, yelling incoherently. Crook described Truman as irate and agitated when they arrived.

"He was yelling," Crook said. "He was yelling to save her, he was yelling at her to stay alive, that sort of thing."

Paramedics arrived and police told Truman to step aside so they could treat Heidy Truman.

"He immediately just became irate, disorderly, threatening, just totally out of the norm," Crook testified. "He threatened to kill me and everybody I know if I didn't save Heidy."

Crook said Truman told him he and his wife had been drinking and got into an argument. Truman said his wife had gone to take a shower and that he had tried to go in but was sent away. He told Crook that he then heard a pop.

"At one point, he did say that he thought a bullet must have come through the wall, through the sheet rock on the outside," Crook said.

Truman said his wife wasn't suicidal or depressed but couldn't offer a clear timeline or explanation of what had happened before she was shot, according to Crook. "Everything he said was just random and out of order — it made no sense."

Two guns were found inside the home, including one that Truman yelled at "like he was mad at the gun" and another that police spotted under a chair Truman was sitting in. Police began to suspect that the woman's death was not a suicide.

"After seeing his demeanor, after seeing the second gun, the way things were playing out, it seemed to me … that it was going to be a crime scene," the corporal said.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich asked Crook if he had training in how various people respond following a traumatic episode, and the officer said he was not trained but knew that everyone responds differently. He also asked if Crook had asked Truman whether he had shot his wife.

The officer conceded that he had not.

Orem Fire Battalion Chief Russ Sneddon said Truman interfered with the care being provided to his wife, "plus the statements he was making was disturbing and of a threatening nature." Sneddon said Truman was the first and only person to threaten to kill him in his 17 years as a paramedic.

He said Heidy Truman was still breathing, though it was "labored," when paramedics arrived around 11 p.m. Dr. Edward Leis, Utah's chief deputy medical examiner, said Heidy Truman's time of death was just after 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2012.

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