Judge authorizes Adams County to pay up to $10,000 for investigators for Bliefnick defense

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QUINCY — Judge Robert Adrian ruled Wednesday that Tim Bliefnick was indigent after he filled out an affidavit of his assets and liabilities as well as based on the Circuit Court’s freezing of assets contested in the divorce case between Bliefnick and his late estranged wife, Rebecca.

Tim Bliefnick faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his wife, whom he had been in the process of divorcing for nearly two years when she was found shot to death in her home on February 23.

Casey Schnack, Bliefnick’s defense attorney, asked the court for $10,000 to pay for private investigators for the defense.

“We expect that he (the investigator) will be able to interview certain parties, find certain witnesses and provide us information that could not only prove that the Tim is not guilty, but that somebody completely different committed this crime,” Schnack said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones, lead prosecutor for the case, said he really didn’t object to the request but, as a steward of the county’s tax dollars, asked that the amount be reduced to $5,000 and that the defense could always request more funding if needed.

Adrian ruled the Schnack Law Office would be provided $5,000 to begin the process and could receive another $5,000 if needed. He said if the defense needed further funding, they could make that request. Schnack said her office would provide all of the necessary receipts and documents as to where the money will be spent.

Schnack also requested multiple files involving the Bliefnick divorce currently in the possession of the Quincy Police Department. She said she wanted to be able to review them without having to ask QPD for permission each time she wanted to prepare for the case.

Jones said there were “3 or 4 banker’s boxes” full of documents relating to the divorce and he estimated that to be about 10,000 pages, which are too many to copy.

Adrian asked Schnack if two weeks would be enough time for her to review all of the documents and she had no objection “as long as it is a comprehensive file and we don’t have stacks missing.” Adrian then gave her two weeks to review the documents and Jones should provide them to the defense by close of business Thursday.

There was also a brief discussion regarding the motion filed by Muddy River News, WGEM and The Herald-Whig regarding the blanket unsealing of evidentiary documents in the Bliefnick case.

Pre-trial motions are to be reviewed on April 20. Jones said hearing was expected to take “most of the day” and added, because of it being evidentiary in nature, most of it would be closed.

Schnack said she appreciated the media’s action in the case and wanted a “speedy and public” trial for her client, but she said at this stage, reviewing the evidence under court seal “outweighed the public’s right to know.”

The hearing on unsealing the Bliefnick case will take place on April 19 at 8:45 a.m. before Judge Adrian.

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