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The murder trial of George Burch draws towards its conclusion on Thursday, with the defense expected to rest their case. Burch is charged with first-degree murder, as he’s accused of killing Nicole VanderHeyden, in May 2016. Burch and VanderHeyden allegedly met that same evening, but he insists that he didn’t do it. Watch live in the player above.
Burch has admitted that he was with VanderHeyden on the night she died. He claimed he was having sex with her in a car, which explains why investigators found his DNA on her body. Burch claims that her boyfriend, Douglass Detrie, found them, then killed the woman and threatened Burch at gunpoint, making him move the body to the spot where investigators later found her.
On Wednesday, Burch took the stand in his own defense. He told the court that he met VanderHeyden at a bar, where they flirted, before leaving and going to a friend’s home where he was staying. When they saw the friend’s father there, they left and went to what he believed to be VanderHeyden’s home. He said she told him the babysitter was still in the house, so they remained in the car, where they began “fooling around,” before moving to the back seat to have sex.
At that point, Burch said, his memory cut out, and that he remembered waking up on the ground, with a man in a sweatshirt holding a gun there. Burch said the gunman ordered him to stand behind the vehicle. He then noticed VanderHeyden, with “a lot of blood on her face, coming out of her mouth, on her back … she wasn’t physically moving.”
Burch said the man then ordered him to put VanderHeyden’s body into the back of the vehicle, and then drive them out to a field. He claims he was then ordered to dump the body. He told the court that after he did this, he pushed the other man and took off. He said he never reported what happened to the police because he was already on probation. Also, once Detrie was arrested, he didn’t think he needed to get involved, he said.
The prosecution grilled Burch on cross-examination, saying that his story didn’t quite add up. They pointed out that VanderHeyden was found to have an injury to her pubic area, which is evidence that their sex was not consensual. Burch maintained that he didn’t do anything wrong.
The defense is expected to rest their case on Thursday. The prosecution would then have the opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses, with closing arguments to follow.
Stay with Law&Crime.com and the Law&Crime Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
[Image via Brown County Jail]