Supreme Court panel hears murder appeal for Monte Meier
CARSON CITY (AP) – A man who admits he buried his wife’s body but denies he killed her is asking the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn his 1997 murder conviction, partly because the cause of her death never was proven.
Monte Meier did not receive a fair trial in Douglas County because evidence was introduced improperly and the cause of Julie Meier’s death in 1994 never formally established, his attorney Terri Steik Roeser said Tuesday.
Julie Meier’s body was found in a shallow grave behind the couple’s Stateline home in May 1996, two years after she was reported missing by her daughters.
Meier admitted burying his wife under a woodpile, but denied killing her. He claimed he awoke to find his wife lying in a pool of blood and buried her because he feared he would be blamed.
Meier was convicted of second degree murder in April 1997 after a two-week trial, and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
During the trial, defense witnesses said both Monte and Julie Meier were alcoholics. At least one expert witness for the defense claimed Julie Meier died as a result of injuries she incurred herself while intoxicated.
The defense expert witness, Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist, said Julie Meier died of liver disease, brought on by excessive drinking.
Baden has testified in high-profile trials such as those of O. J. Simpson and British au pair Louise Woodward, and the investigation into the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Family members, friends and coworkers said, however, Julie Meier was frequently abused by her husband.
Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins argued that an examination of the victim’s remains strongly suggested she died by beating or strangulation.
Perkins said despite the doctor’s impressive credentials, ”much of what Dr. Baden said was false, and a fair amount of it was ridiculous.”
The state’s expert witness said a broken bone in Julie Meier’s neck was a classic sign of strangulation.
Roeser also maintains the district court erred in allowing witnesses to testify that there was a history of violence between the Meiers.
Justices Cliff Young, Miriam Shearing and Myron Leavitt heard the appeal.
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