The jury in the Nathan Leuthold murder trial heard from the defendant himself, in a way, in the fourth day of testimony.
Prosecutors on Thursday played video of Leuthold's first interview with police, which took place at the Peoria Police Department headquarters just a few hours after Denise Leuthold was found, murdered, in the couple's North Peoria home on Feb. 14, 2013.
Leuthold seemed rattled at the beginning of the tape. He repeatedly mentioned his family, saying he needed to coordinate how his children would be told about their mother's death. He also voiced concerns about how the logistics of everyday life would go on without his wife, who usually was the one who kept things going in their household.
At the time of the interview, Leuthold was not considered a suspect. Investigators said they were simply talking to him to get details of the case and, hopefully, rule him out as a person of interest.
Leuthold took detectives through his day, which involved running errands, buying a Valentine's Day gift, and a few stops at Starbucks. He said he arrived at his Mossville Road home around 3:00 p.m. to find the garage door open. Since that was out of the ordinary, he pulled out of the driveway, parked across the street, and called police, fearing someone had broken into his house.
Leuthold voluntarily went downtown with police after officers made the grim discovery of Denise Leuthold's body. During the interview, Leuthold complained that no one on the force told him his wife had been killed. How he found out, he claimed, was from his father, who heard on the radio that a body was found in the home.
He frequently seemed frustrated by what he considered to be tedious questions from investigators. Leuthold raised his voice, and asked a number of times how long the interview would take. His main concern, he said, was contacting his family. He also mentioned that he needed to call a "Lithuanian student" he was sponsoring, presumably in reference to Aina Dobilaite, the young woman with whom he's accused of having an affair.
The tape shows him making one phone call after detectives left the room. It sounded like a woman's voice, although it was never confirmed with whom he'd been speaking. Leuthold apologized to the person several times for not returning phone calls, said he'd call back when he could, and hung up.
Leuthold was hesitant when police asked him to talk about his home situation. Lowering his voice, he said he didn't want to speak ill of his deceased wife. But, because he wanted to help the investigation move along, Leuthold began talking about Denise Leuthold.
He said she suffered from depression which, while only self-diagnosed, made her irritable and easily frustrated. Leuthold said Denise Leuthold would get angry when one of their children couldn't get a homework problem right, for example. She was often short with him as well, he said.
After a trip to the doctor, he said, she found out she was suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency. She took supplements her doctor recommended, which had some positive results. However, her depression continued, he claimed.
Leuthold included his affinity for guns during the interview as well. He said he didn't hunt, outside of one trip to Texas in which he hunted feral hogs, but he did like to shoot. He admitted to detectives that he owned three guns, and that his wife knew where they were in case of an emergency.
He also said he'd called police earlier the week of the murder about a couple of run-ins with a suspicious vehicle. Leuthold said two times a car drove past his house, and in one instance, it parked in his driveway with the lights turned off. Leuthold said an officer came out and looked around, but found nothing at the scene.
The video, originally six hours in length, was cut down to four hours for the purposes of the trial. However, Judge Kevin Lyons decided to cut the viewing short on Thursday, saving the rest for Friday morning. In an effort to get the testimony wrapped up, Friday's proceedings are set to begin around 8:30 a.m. Judge Lyons says he hopes to have the case handed to the jury by early Friday afternoon.