GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– The Edgewater man who was tried in the death of his estranged wife pleaded guilty on Thursday after a jury came back with a split verdict last month.
Daniel DeWild pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of Heather DeWild in 2003, just days before their divorce was to be final. He faces up to 75 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 28, 2013.
Last month, jurors in Jefferson County found DeWild guilty on two counts, including one that he conspired with his identical twin brother, David Norman DeWild, to kill Heather. But they were deadlocked on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.
A retrial was scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013 but through ongoing plea negotiations an agreement was reached earlier this week in which DeWild was to plead guilty to second-degree murder.
That plea happened Thursday in Jefferson County Court in Golden.
DeWild’s father was surprised when he learned of Daniel’s confession.
“It even surprised me more that he got up there and confessed. He’s just not the type of person that will accept responsibility for his actions,”
said Heather DeWild’s father David Springer.
During the trial in November the jury heard graphic testimony from Daniel’s brother, David, about how Daniel bludgeoned Heather with a rubber mallet then hanged her in his Edgewater garage.
David testified saying that he had disposed of her body. He drove the Suburban, with Heather’s body in the back, to the location where it was later discovered by a CDOT worker.
On September 4, 2003 her badly decomposed body was found in a shallow grave just off of westbound Highway 6, near mile marker 262.
She was wearing the same clothing that she wore on the day she disappeared. Heather’s neck and wrist were loosely bound with rope. Her body was wrapped in trash bags and secured by duct tape.
“I’m not disappointed at all with the results. I’m very satisfied with all the work the DA’s office and all the investigators have done,” said Springer.
“I look at this case as a promise I made to the family. And today we got some justice for Heather DeWild,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey.
David pleaded guilty to conspiracy and faces up to 12 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 24, 2013. His wife, Roseanne DeWild, spent eight months behind bars before conspiracy charges against her were dropped.
“I’m glad he finally manned up. I’m glad it’s over because for my family and me, I don’t want to sit in the courtroom for the rest of my life,” said David DeWild’s wife Roseanne DeWild.
Daniel remains in the Jefferson County Detention Center where he is being held on a $1 million bond.