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Provo • For the last four years, Conrad Mark Truman has been living a nightmare.
After being accused of killing his wife, he was arrested and put in jail. A jury in 2014 convicted him of murder and obstructing justice despite his testimony that he didn't shoot 25-year-old Heidy Truman. Even as a judge sentenced him to spend possibly the rest of his life in prison in 2015, Conrad Truman never wavered: He said he didn't kill her.
Last year, a judge granted him a new trial, finding that jurors relied on incorrect measurements of the Truman home when rendering their verdict.
But on Friday, after three weeks of trial testimony and nearly nine hours of jury deliberation, a second set of jurors acquitted him of the charges. For the first time in four years, he walked out of the Utah County Jail a free man.
"The truth has finally set this nightmare to an end," his sister, Colette Dahl, told reporters after the verdict was read. "We're just really grateful to the jury and our attorneys for the phenomenal job they did exposing the true facts, which we knew would set him free."
Prosecutors accused Conrad Truman, now 35, of shooting his wife in a drunken rage on Sept. 30, 2012.
Defense attorneys told jurors that the woman likely died from a self-inflicted wound.
After the not guilty verdicts were announced, family members of both Heidy and Conrad Truman burst into tears. As Conrad Truman's family hugged each other and their defense attorneys, Heidy Truman's sister collapsed on the floor and wailed.
Heidy Truman's family, who have said they believe Conrad Truman killed her, left the courthouse Friday without commenting to news reporters.
Deputy Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said that prosecutors accepted the verdict, but were sad for Heidy Truman's family.
"We really believed in this case," Taylor said. "… We knew going into this, it was going to be a tough case. We said, if we got all the evidence in that we felt we could, then that's all we can do."
While much of the same evidence was presented to the jury in the second trial, there were some key differences: They were given the corrected measurements of the home, and visited the Truman residence in person.
They also were presented with different information from a Utah medical examiner. During the first trial, medical examiner Edward Leis testified that he initially ruled Heidy Truman's manner of death "undetermined," but later changed the ruling to "homicide" after receiving investigative information from police and prosecutors.
But after Leis was presented with the corrected home measurements and other information after Conrad Truman's conviction, he changed the manner of death back to "undetermined."
"We think the outcome of the first trial of this case was impacted by some of the faulty evidence we uncovered," defense attorney Mark Moffat said Friday. "That jury went to that house and they saw the size of that space and I think they knew that that prior investigation was heavily flawed."
Where Heidy Truman was inside their home when she was shot, and how far she could have traveled after she was wounded before collapsing near a stairwell, were contentious points during the first trial.
The incorrect measurements, defense attorneys have argued, could have led jurors to discredit Conrad Truman's testimony that his wife was shot in the hallway, because they would have shown that his wife had to travel down a hallway that was two feet longer than it actually was before falling. During the first trial, Leis testified that the woman could have traveled only about a foot or a foot-and-a-half after suffering a gunshot wound in the head.
Prosecutors argued that Conrad Truman's inconsistent stories to police about what happened that night indicated that he killed the woman. His defense attorneys argued that the man's statements were taken moments after the shooting while he was traumatized and panicked about his wife's death.
Moffat wouldn't say whether Conrad Truman will pursue a civil lawsuit against either police or prosecutors.
"We're just going to take it one step a time," he said, adding that for now his client will spend time with his family and get used to a life outside of jail walls.
"Maybe he'll get a chance to grieve," defense attorney Ann Marie Taliaferro said. "He never got that chance."