Jury Selection Begins in Marengo Murder Trial
DAVENPORT, Iowa – A 21-year-old Belle Plaine man will stand trial this week in Scott County District Court for his part in a conspiracy involving booze, the promise of a menage a trois and a brutal beating.
Jacob Hilgendorf, charged with first-degree murder, is accused of beating his mother’s boyfriend Curtis Bailey, 33, of Marengo, with a landscaping rock July 19 at Bailey’s Marengo home.
Hilgendorf’s co-defendants, his mother Denise Frei, 45, of Marengo, will be tried for first-degree murder after his trial and his friend, Jesscia Dayton, 20, of Belle Plaine, was convicted in April and is serving a life sentence for her role.
The trial was transferred from Iowa County to Scott after Dayton was convicted to ensure a large enough jury pool was available to select 12 fair and impartial jurors and alternates.
Jury selection begins Monday. Testimony will get underway Tuesday and the trial is expected to last about two weeks.
Frei and Dayton promised Bailey three-way sex if he participated in a drinking game, so they could get him drunk and then kill him, according to testimony revealed at Dayton’s trial. Hilgendorf was to come to Bailey’s home after he was drunk to help the women but Bailey awoke and a struggle started between the men.
Dayton, a waitress at Bailey’s Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine, then picked up a landscaping rock from outside his home and dropped it on his head three times, according to trial evidence. Hilgendorf then hit Bailey with the rock at least once.
A state medical examiner testified at Dayton’s trial the number of injuries were so great that Bailey could have suffered between 11 and as many as 30 blows to his head and body. Photos shown during the trial showed Bailey’s body, partially covered in plastic wrap, lying in blood on the living room floor.
Dayton’s defense claimed she was innocent during her trial without putting on any witnesses and Frei plans to claim insanity and diminished responsibility as her defense.
Dayton has filed an appeal in her case and won’t be testifying and the defense’s witness list wasn’t available to confirm if Frei will testify.
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