HENNEPIN — Attorneys for Clifford A. Andersen Jr. argued against the admission of certain financial and video evidence during the murder suspect’s hearing on Monday morning in Putnam County Circuit Court.
Andersen, 67, of Standard is charged with killing his sister-in-law, Deborah Dewey, and concealing her body. Dewey, 62, of Ladd was reported missing in August 2016.
Her body was found on Sept. 12, 2016, in a shallow grave in a yard of a Standard home for which Andersen was caretaker. Police were alerted to the property following an interview with a person who had knowledge about the case. One day after Dewey’s body was found in Standard, police arrested Andersen.
Andersen’s lawyers, Drew Parker and his son, Robert Parker, of Peoria’s Parker and Parker Law Firm, argued a piece of paper found in Dewey’s apartment is “obtuse and confusing” and should not be admitted as evidence because it doesn’t add up to a motive.
The note has an amount of $620 written next to the name “Skip,” a known nickname of Andersen, according to the prosecution.
Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward agreed that, by itself, the note may appear “to be cryptic,” but he argued it showed Dewey kept meticulous track of her financial transactions, and that when included with both her and Andersen’s banking and financial transaction records, the note would be shown to be relevant.
Judge Stephen Kouri ruled the note would not be allowed unless the prosecution could show a connection between the amounts written on the note in question and the banking records.
The defense hadn’t argued against the admission of banking records. Elward also read the details of a series checks totaling thousands of dollars that had been made out to Andersen. He also said Andersen had intimate knowledge of Dewey’s financial situation.
“There was an ongoing financial relationship between the victim and the defendant which ended violently,” Elward said.
Andersen was said to have gained knowledge of Dewey’s financial situation when he helped her while she was going through her divorce. Elward also said the money Dewey lent Andersen was from her individual retirement account, and that it was used to try to pay off a series of high-interest loans he’d taken out and was having trouble paying back.
There were also multiple phone calls made between Dewey and Andersen on the day of her disappearance.
The video evidence in question was from surveillance cameras at the truck stop where Dewey’s car was found. The time stamps on two videos were both inaccurate in different ways, and Kouri said he wanted to hear testimony from the investigating officer before allowing it as evidence.
The prosecution argued that when the time stamps were adjusted and compared with Andersen’s phone records, they show Andersen parking Dewey’s car and then walking into the truck stop where he was to be picked up by a friend to be taken back to his car at a different location.
Elward also detailed how many lies Andersen and his friend, who will be called as a witness for the prosecution, told investigators about that day, saying Andersen asked his friend to lie and not say they had been in Morris. The friend initially complied, but later recanted his statement to investigators.
“Why doesn’t he want anyone to know he was in Morris? Because he was dropping off the victim’s car,” Elward said.
The hearing was recessed until Tuesday so the prosecution and defense teams could work on jury questionnaires.