(April 28, 2017)
Murder victim Mary Yoder's husband, William Yoder, took the witness stand Friday in the trial of the couple's former receptionist in their chiropractic practice. Katilyn Conley, 24, is accused of using common gout medicine, Colchicine, to poison 60-year-old Yoder in July of 2015.
William Yoder told jurors he and his wife had a wonderful marriage that was getting better and better every day. Yoder, when asked by the defense if he would meet women in hotel rooms when he used to go away for the weekend to write his books, said that he'd never been unfaithful to his wife. He said that, when he brought his sick wife to the hospital on July 21, 2015, he slept home that night because he'd suspected she just had the stomach bug and would likely come home the next day. He said their son, Adam, had the same symptoms three months prior. Yoder says he was shocked to be awakened by New York State troopers, banging on his door 5am on the 22nd, and devastated when he got to the hospital and saw how his wife had deteriorated.
"She was, like, strapped down to the bed, she had a huge tube down her throat. Tubes everywhere. She just looked absolutely terrified," said Yoder.
Yoder said he was drowning in grief after his wife died, and that he reached out to her sister for comfort, because she'd recently gone through the same thing, having lost her husband.
"She was the only person I knew who had gone through what I was going through. She'd had a good, long, stable happy marriage. I wanted to talk to somebody who was not just wishing me well but who knew it," said Yoder. He said the relationship turned romantic in the months after his wife's death; that he felt it was a chance for companionship and human warmth, and that the death of his wife taught him that, in the blink of an eye, you can lose everything. He's currently in a romantic relationship with is former sister-in-law.
Yoder said that his son, Adam, and defendant Conley, were no longer dating at the time of his wife's death, but that this might have changed a bit when Mary Yoder died.
"Katie was comforting him a lot and I think they were feeling closer," said Yoder.
Yoder said he learned that there was a criminal investigation into his wife's death from their chiropractic patients, presumably after they'd been questioned by police.
"I figured they would consider me the prime suspect. I was the husband. And they would talk to everybody else first before they came to me and I just thought they'd get to me when they're ready. I trusted them," said Yoder.
Yoder acknowledged growing and smoking marijuana in 1981, while living in South Carolina. He said that he'd never heard of "Colchicine"-the common gout medicine used to kill her.
Testimony continues Monday with a law enforcement witness who was supposed to testify on Friday and is expected to take a long time on the stand.