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Medical examiner says Orem woman’s death may not be homicide

SHARE Medical examiner says Orem woman’s death may not be homicide
Heidy Truman

Heidy Truman

Family photo

PROVO — A Utah medical examiner told a jury Tuesday he decided a woman's shooting death might not be a homicide when he took another look at key evidence against her husband after he was convicted of murder.

The change in the autopsy report was a turning point in the legal saga of Conrad Truman, an Orem man now on trial for the second time after a judge overturned a guilty verdict in the death of his wife.

Medical examiner Edward Leis said it was clear Heidy Truman died of a gunshot wound to the head, but the forensic evidence couldn't show whether her death was an accident, suicide or a homicide

Leis had determined her death was a homicide after meeting with police and prosecutors, who showed him a diagram of the couple's Orem home. The diagram indicated the hallway was too long for Heidy Truman to have shot herself and staggered to where she was found, making a self-inflicted death nearly impossible.

But Leis testified he took the unusual step of changing his autopsy report back to "undetermined" after defense attorneys showed him the official diagram of the house was wrong. Police had mistakenly reported the measurement as 13.9 feet instead of 139 inches.

"It made it much more feasible … that something could've happened in this hallway," Leis said.

With that change, the defense's explanation that Heidy Truman's death was an accident or suicide became much more plausible, and if the jury had seen correct information it might have changed their verdict, a judge decided in his ruling overturning the conviction.

Prosecutors, however, say there's still plenty of evidence against Conrad Truman, 35, including his strange behavior the night of his wife's death in 2012.

Prosecutors also pointed Tuesday to bruising on Heidy Truman's body, which was consistent with her falling to the ground rather than being caught by her husband, as he has said, the Daily Herald reported.

The autopsy also found that Heidy Truman had gunshot residue on her hand, but Leis said that only indicates her hand was near a gun, not necessarily who was holding it.