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VIDEO: Testimony underway in Prescott murder trial

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Prescott resident Rose Marie Kuehni listens to proceedings Wednesday during Day 1 of testimony in her homicide trial in Pierce County. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Mike Longaecker)2 / 2

The trial of Rose Marie Kuehni got underway Wednesday in Pierce County Circuit Court, where investigators described how they honed in on the Prescott woman after her boyfriend went missing.

The investigators from Illinois testified that a missing persons case involving Prescott resident Douglas Bailey eventually brought them to Pierce County, where they questioned Kuehni. Prosecutors later charged her with first-degree homicide and hiding a corpse after it was learned that Kuehni allegedly shot Bailey to death on Nov. 22, 2015, at their Ash Street home.

Prosecutors say she met on Thanksgiving day in Illinois with another man -- identified by authorities as Kentucky resident Clarence Hicks -- who took possession of a box containing Bailey’s body and allegedly dumped it off a mountainside in Kentucky.

But the tactics used by investigators to generate Kuehni’s alleged confession came under fire Wednesday during cross-examination by defense attorney Mark Gherty.

He suggested that statements made by Peoria County Sheriff’s Office investigator Dave Hoyle sent mixed messages while speaking to 45-year-old Kuehni. While interviewing Kuehni, Hoyle told her that some things are explainable and that “I believe you didn’t have much of a choice and you did the right thing.”

“I only said that to get her to talk,” Hoyle said under cross-examination.

“So you’re lying,” Gherty responded.

“Yeah,” Hoyle replied, later noting that investigators are allowed to lie at times during interrogations in order to gain confessions.

Also at the hearing Wednesday, the jury of nine men and five women were shown nearly two hours of the jailhouse interview authorities conducted with Kuehni.

It began with her describing the tumultuous night with Bailey that eventually led up to the fatal shooting, which she outlined in detail to investigators. The video also included an extensive description by Kuehni of the prolonged mental, physical and sexual abuse she allegedly received from Bailey.

The eight-day trial continues through next week.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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