BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Testimony continued for the second day in the trial of a man accused of murdering his wife then dumping her body.
Dale Bruner reported his wife missing just before Thanksgiving 2010. The body of Stephanie Roller Bruner was found three days later along the Blue River.
Bruner is charged with second degree murder, two counts of assault and three counts of tampering with evidence.
A majority of the morning testimony was from Aaron Roller, Stephanie’s brother. He was very close to both his sister and her husband. On the stand he recalled several intense conversations with Stephanie about her and Dale’s tumultuous relationship before she went missing.
“‘Remember that time, 10 years ago, when I told you that Dale had strangled me and threatened to kill me if I ever leave and you didn’t do anything.’ and I said, ‘Well, I do think I did something, I think I said we should get you some proper counseling for this.’ But that was a very significant thing because I was coming back at that time with her and again, I hadn’t probably thought about it in a long time even with all this turmoil I hadn’t thought about that but it was a reminder to me that she had told me this,” said Aaron Roller.
Roller also recalled a conversation about other times Bruner had been violent with Stephanie and also one of their children. That was the incident for a restraining order the was filed a few weeks before she disappeared.
Roller also testified that he had several conversations with Bruner leading up to his sister’s disappearance. Bruner told him he was distraught, not sleeping well and emotionally stressed from the marital troubles that had been going on.
Roller went on to testify that Bruner exhibited odd behavior around the time the body was discovered in the river.
“I recall him falling to his knees and kind of arching over and basically doing a bunch of dry heaves,” said Roller. “To be honest I found the whole reaction to be a bit odd, a bit phony.”
Silverthorne Police Officer Anne Baldwin said Bruner’s attitude was peculiar when he switched stories during a lengthy interview with CBI.
“Agent Sater had asked, do you go out looking for her? And he looks at Mr. Bruner and he says, ‘Oh I didn’t tell you this the night before, I went out looking for her,’ and we had clarified that the night before, he did not go out looking for her,” said Baldwin.
The defense maintains that Bruner was the only suspect and shoddy police work doesn’t make him a murderer.
With both Stephanie’s brother and Baldwin, the defense asked if there were any signs of struggle or whether anyone noticed footprints in the snow leading down to the river.
Both witnesses said they saw no signs of either of those.