First witnesses called in murder trial

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

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JASPER — The prosecution’s opening statement Tuesday in Kyle D. Schneider’s murder trial recounted the multiple stab wounds, cuts and skull fractures suffered by 23-year-old Chloie E. Lubbehusen.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Beth Sermersheim mentioned a trail of blood leading out the front door of the trailer in the 5800 block of County Road 650E and how the mortally wounded Lubbehusen was found naked and bleeding on the porch with the temperature in the low 20s Jan. 11.

The 27-year-old suspect, arrested in a garage at the scene, is reported that morning to have asked a Dubois County Sheriff’s Office deputy if he had ever killed anyone. When the deputy responded he had not, Schneider reportedly stated, “This would be my first.”

Sermersheim concluded her opening statement by asking the Dubois Circuit Court jury to remember Schneider’s words.

Schneider’s Jasper attorney Tim DeMotte, who has been in practice 17 years, told jurors during his opening statement that the case has one of the most complicated fact patterns he has encountered.

DeMotte indicated evidence would show there was no blood belonging to the victim on Schneider’s hands.

When arrested, Schneider was naked except for a pair of socks. DeMotte’s opening statement indicated brown spots on those socks were too small to obtain any DNA profile.

Lubbehusen was found by friend, neighbor and cousin-by-marriage Ashley Kilburn, who placed the 911 call played for the jury.

Kilburn had covered Lubbehusen with a blanket and was running back to her house to get her husband, Tikelan Kilburn, while making the 911 call.

DeMotte’s opening statement indicated Tikelan Kilburn was later untruthful with officers when questioned about missing property, including an SUV, that belonged to Schneider. And, DeMotte said, Tikelan Kilburn would have been present in the neighborhood at the end of the county road at the time of Lubbehusen’s wounding.

The defense attorney told jurors Schneider had consumed substances that affected his ability to recall events. He also opened the possibility of some of Lubbehusen’s wounds being self-inflicted, questioning if there was even a possibility her death was a mercy killing by someone else.

Seven witnesses were called during Tuesday’s eight hours of testimony. Those taking the witness stand included the former and just-retired director of the Dubois County Communications Center, Janice Love, followed by a half dozen individuals who had been on the scene the morning of Jan. 11. In addition to Ashley Kilburn, those other witnesses were St. Anthony Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Uebelhor and department firefighter and first responder Matt Schnell, and Sgt. Stuart Wilson, Deputy Brad Kendall and Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg, all of the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office.

The witnesses described the scene upon their arrivals as a 3-by-4-foot photo of the neighborhood was placed on an easel and other photos, like that of a lock-blade knife found on the floor inside Lubbehusen’s residence, were shown to the jury on a similarly sized video screen.

During her testimony, Ashley Kilburn said she and Lubbehusen texted and visited each other’s homes across the drive from each other on a daily basis. “We were good friends and getting closer,” she testified.

DeMotte’s cross-examination found Ashley Kilburn admitting she and Tikelan Kilburn are not legally married at this time, having divorced in August. Tikelan Kilburn, who had served in the U.S. Army overseas, was medically discharged after suffering seizures, Ashley Kilburn said. It was hard for him to adjust because being a soldier was the only way of life he knew, she said. But, Ashley Kilburn said, soon after the divorce, she and Tikelan had come to a common ground for their three children. They have been living together and, she said, she considered him her husband both at the time of the incident as well as now.

The prosecution will continue presenting its case today. The trial is expected to last through next week.




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