The relationship between Nathan Leuthold and a Lithuanian student he supported was a central part of day three of the trial in which the north Peoria man is accused of murdering his wife.
Leuthold allegedly shot his wife, Denise Leuthold, in the back of the head on Valentine's Day 2013. Police believe he tried to cover up the murder by making it look like the work of a burglar.
Prosecutors allege Leuthold killed his wife for one simple reason: so he could be with Aina Dobilaite. The Lithuanian national met the Leutholds when she was just six-years-old, when the couple was in her home country working as missionaries. Through the years, she developed a friendship with the Leutholds. That friendship eventually led to the Leutholds bringing Dobilaite to the United States so she could attend college.
But prosecutors say the relationship between Nathan Leuthold and Dobilaite was much more than that between a foreign student and a sponsor. They believe the two had a sexual relationship that led Leuthold to consider murdering his wife.
The claim was backed up by David Smith during Wednesday's proceedings. Smith, who is serving 14 years for drug charges, agreed to testify in exchange for his sentenced being reduced to 10 years.
Smith says Leuthold came to him for advice while the two were in the Peoria County Jail. The questions started as just "hypothetical" at first, but as they progressed, Smith says he demanded Leuthold start posing "real" scenarios.
And Leuthold did, at least according to Smith. Smith told the jury that Leuthold had for quite some time been considering murdering her. The date of the murder, Smith said, was no accident, either.
"It was supposed to be some type of present for this other chick," Smith said. "He said that [Denise Leuthold] was overbearing, and that he had got to the point where he wanted to move on with his life. He had met someone else."
When asked if Leuthold ever named that "someone else," Smith said, "Anna or Lana." Prosecutors say that "someone else" was Aina Dobilaite.
That "someone else" also testified just a few hours after Smith took the stand. Dobilaite, with the help of a translator, answered State's Attorney Jerry Brady's questions very shortly. When asked if she had an affair with Leuthold, she simply stated, "no."
Dobilaite did say she and Leuthold visited the same Chicago apartment on multiple occassions, and they did take trips to the spa. But she never once said their relationship involved anything more than friendship.
She also criticized the translator several times, saying he wasn't accurately relaying the testimony she gave. After Brady's repeated challenges to her claim that she needed a translator, she eventually began speaking only in English.
Leuthold himself broke from his usually stolid demeanor more than once over the course of Dobilaite's two-hour testimony. At one point, he was obviously mouthing words to her; another time, he spoke up to offer her help in spelling a word. By contrast, Leuthold has shown little, if any, emotion during the rest of the trial, even when seeing pictures of his dead wife lying in a pool of her own blood.
In exchange for her testimony, Dobilaite was granted immunity from prosecution in the case.
The trial is expected to last through at least the end of this week. If convicted, Leuthold faces up to 45 years behind bars.