Testimony and defense objections at George Burch hearing

Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 11:14 AM CST
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Dane County Deputy Medical Examiner testified at a motion hearing for George Burch.

Dr. Agniezka Rogalska testified via Skype about the cause of death of Nicole VanderHeyden of Ledgeview.

Burch is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for the murder VanderHeyden. His attorney's intend to point the finger at the victim's boyfriend, Douglass Detrie.

On May 21, 2016, VanderHeyden's body was found about three miles from the home she shared with Detrie.

The cause of death was determined to be severe blunt force trauma to her head and strangulation.

Detrie was arrested after the murder, but released a little more than two weeks later because of a lack of evidence against him, and DNA evidence pointing to Burch. Prosecutors say Detrie was not a suspect in the murder.

Investigators say some DNA samples taken from VanderHeyden's body and clothing matched Burch.

Burch was arrested on Sept. 8 and charged with VanderHeyden's murder.

The defense claims Burch and VanderHeyden met at a Green Bay bar the night of the killing, and Detrie caught VanderHeyden and Burch having sex in a car, giving Detrie motive to kill her. Burch claims Detrie knocked him out, then beat VanderHeyden to death and forced Burch at gunpoint to move her body.

The state suggests Detrie couldn't knock out Burch, who is 6'7" tall and 250 pounds, and beat VanderHeyden to death without causing any visible injuries to himself.

At Friday's hearing, the Deputy Medical Examiner gave details about VanderHeyden's injuries sustained during the sexual assault and murder.

The defense questioned the doctor about the sexual assault, arguing the injuries could of happened during consensual sex. They also challenged the admission of the Fitbit evidence. That will be decided by the judge by next Friday.

More briefs were submitted, but not discussed. Those will be part of a hearing on January 19th.

Burch's trial is set to begin February 16th.