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Judge denies bail reduction for Orem man accused in wife's death

Published: Thursday, Aug. 27 2015 3:43 p.m. MDT

A judge denied a bail reduction for Orem man accused in his wife's death as families on both sides of the case contend the facts will prove either the innocence or guilt of Conrad Truman. (Shutterstock) A judge denied a bail reduction for Orem man accused in his wife's death as families on both sides of the case contend the facts will prove either the innocence or guilt of Conrad Truman. (Shutterstock)

PROVO — One family continues to mourn the loss of their daughter and sister, shot and killed in her own home.

Another family, that of the woman's husband, is frustrated that their son and brother is being held on $1 million cash-only bail, charged with first-degree felony murder in his wife's shooting death.

Family members on both sides stated Monday that the truth would come to light in the case against Conrad Truman, 31.

"There's so many inconsistencies, and the forensic evidence will show what really happened," said Cody Wagner, Heidy Truman's brother. "And we believe he will be guilty. We just know that."

"We're confident that once all the facts are presented in this case, they'll find him innocent," said Colette Dahl, Conrad Truman's sister.

At a hearing Monday in 4th District Court, Judge Samuel McVey denied a request from Conrad Truman's defense attorneys to reduce the man's bail, citing the threat to the public and the fact that he is accused of mixing guns and alcohol.

"That is a deadly combination," the judge said.

Officers found Heidy Truman's body lying nude at the top of the staircase of the couple's Orem home on the night of Sept. 30, 2012. Conrad Truman initially told investigators that he and his wife had been drinking and exchanged some words but didn't argue before Heidy Truman went to take a shower.

He reported hearing a loud pop from near the bathroom. At one point, he said he was in the kitchen making a sandwich, but later said he was in the living room watching TV, according to charging documents.

Either way, a medical examiner determined the single, direct shot to the head would have made it impossible for Heidy Truman to walk the 12 feet between the bathroom and the place where her body was found. Instead, she would have fallen immediately to the ground, according to the charges.

Conrad Truman told a victim advocate he thought his wife had been murdered. He had heard someone yelling outside his home prior to the gunshot, he said, and saw a man who "looked like he was talking to himself" before going back inside, charges state. He told his brother-in-law that a black man had entered the house, and he had seen the man run out just before his wife was shot.

Conrad Truman also suggested on several occasions that the bullet could have come through the bathroom window or the shower wall, but there was no physical evidence to corroborate that theory, according to prosecutors. He later said the shooting was accidental in addition to providing several theories of suicide.

"The inaccuracies of Conrad's multiple stories, the claims of Heidy being murdered, and Conrad seeing a black male run out of his home are blatant examples of Conrad's dishonesty," the charges state.

Conrad Truman is also facing a charge of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich argued for a reduced bail on the grounds that Conrad Truman had no significant criminal history, as well as a supportive family and employment opportunities available to him if bail were lowered enough for his release. He also pointed out that his client is not a flight risk.

"(Conrad Truman) did not run during that nine-month period that this case was being investigated, and it was made clear to him that he was the subject of the investigation," Yengich said.

But Utah County deputy attorney Craig Johnson countered that the bail was set based on the facts of the case that supported the murder charges.

"This is a case where it's not exactly a whodunit," Johnson said. "We've got two people in the home, his wife gets shot with a gun being pressed up against her head, and the defendant gives several implausible stories … that are completely against the forensic science, any of the physical evidence, there at the scene."

Police and prosecutors have said in court documents that money was Conrad Truman's "primary motive" in killing his wife. Several life insurance policies had been taken out for Heidy Truman, and, combined with other benefits, Conrad Truman stood to receive $878,767 in the case of his wife's death, despite her $43,000 annual salary, the charges state.

But Dahl said Monday that Conrad and Heidy Truman were not only happy, but financially secure.

"The couple was financially responsible in preparing for the future, but none of us — including my brother — are aware of the existence of policies matching up with the figures that are alleged to be the motive in this case," Dahl said.

She said her brother and others in their family also offered to cooperate with detectives, but eventually wanted to do so with the aid of an attorney, which police did not appear to be interested in.

"It is understandable that people are aggressively seeking answers when they perceive there's been some injustice, however our family is frustrated and hurt by the many inaccuracies that are being released regarding Heidy's death," Dahl said. "Unfortunately, not only has my brother lost the love of his life, but the false allegations have caused irreparable damage to all of us."

As for the inconsistent stories offered up by Conrad Truman, Dahl said they could be attributed to his work as an engineer in which he looks for explanations.

"He offered several different theories of what may have happened," she said. "The honest truth is he does not know, nor do we."

Wagner and Heidy Truman's mother, Janet Wagner, said the family felt "justice was served" in the judge's decision to deny a bail reduction. They said they are committed to being there throughout the court process.

"We're just taking it a day at a time and knowing we're going to have a long process," Janet Wagner said. "We're just going to stay strong and do things along the way to memorialize my daughter and stay positive."

Monday's hearing marked the first time they had seen Conrad Truman since Heidy Truman's funeral.

"It was very difficult to see him," Janet Wagner said. "Just because he never admitted any responsibility and he was the only other one there."

She said her daughter had a "zest and happiness for life" that she misses every day.

"She had a beautiful smile," Cody Wagner added. "She was one of those people that people gravitated to. … She was very special, and we miss her a lot."

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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