BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Jurors in the trial of a husband accused of killing his wife took a field trip on Tuesday to the couple’s home in Summit County.
Silverthorne police say Dale Bruner beat Stephanie Roller Bruner and left her for dead in the Blue River in Nov. of 2010. The 14 jurors walked the trail prosecutors believe the husband used to dump the body.
Roller Bruner’s body was found in the river, but the defense says prosecutors can’t prove where the murder happened.
Several officers said when they were inside the Bruners’ former residence around Thanksgiving that year none of them ever saw what they would consider a crime scene.
Tuesday morning two key investigators took the stand. One was from the Silverthorne Police Department and one from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. But much of that testimony focused on the time period before Roller Bruner was found — a time they say the case was still about a missing person and not a homicide.
“At that point, again, there was no crime for us to be investigating. I looked around the house, I looked for any signs of a struggle, and I also looked around for signs of a crime scene that had been cleaned up, and I wasn’t able to,” Greg Sadar with the CBI Major Crimes Unit said on the stand.
Investigators described the inside of the Bruners’ house at the time as a mess — dirty in nearly every room.
The defense says the slow response by the police left the house open to be tampered with.
“Sir, again, I did not know where the crime scene actually was,” Det. Theresa Barger with Silverthorne police said. “We have a spot where the body was located. That is one crime scene.”
Jurors boarded a bus and left the courthouse. They visited the banks of the Blue River. But when the body was found it was snowy and ice was covering parts of the river.
Jurors also walked around the Bruners’ former house, through the back yard and past a nearby pond.
The defense claims Roller Bruner walked the path after a fight with her husband, not to be seen again. The prosecution says it is potentially the path he used to dispose of her body.
The defense maintains it was a poor investigation from the start, and Bruner is the only likely suspect they truly investigated. The police department said that they looked into a man Roller Bruner was having an affair with. He and his ex-wife both took the stand earlier in the week and denied killing Roller Bruner.