The defense began calling witnesses Tuesday in the case of George Burch, who is charged with murdering Nicole VanderHeyden in May 2016, and there was a startling revelation. Burch has admitted to being with VanderHeyden on the night she disappeared, but he insists that he didn’t kill her. The defense claims that it was VanderHeyden’s boyfriend, Douglas Detrie, who did it. Detrie took the stand early in the trial, but testimony on Tuesday significantly contradicted his version of events.
Dallas Kennedy was babysitting VanderHeyden and Detrie’s child on the night in question. She told the court that after news got out that VanderHeyden was dead, Detrie reached out to her and they spoke on the phone.
Kennedy testified that she asked Detrie what happened to VanderHeyden, and he answered, “I don’t know, she hit her head, and then she just wanted to walk home.”
This is very different from the story that Detrie provided during his testimony. When he testified, he described how he wasn’t with VanderHeyden that night, and he was out drinking with his friends. He said that VanderHeyden sent him a series of angry text messages, and that he tried to find her later in the night, but was unsuccessful.
Detrie was initially a person of interest in the case, and was even arrested on suspicion of killing his girlfriend, but was eventually released. Burch, whose DNA was found during the investigation, and whose phone records placed him at the home that night, was later arrested and charged with murder.
Burch has claimed that Detrie caught him having sex with VanderHeyden. He said Detrie killed her, then threatened him with a gun and made him move her body to where it was eventually found.
[Image via Law&Crime Network screengrab]