Husband charged decades later in 1995 Utah murder of wife - East Idaho News

Husband charged decades later in 1995 Utah murder of wife

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KSTU) — More than two decades after a woman was found dead in her West Valley City home, her husband has been charged with her murder.

Keith Klingenberg, 68, was charged with first-degree felony murder in the June 11, 1995 death of his wife, Bernadean Klingenberg.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office stated that Klingenberg originally told dispatchers his wife had taken her own life by slashing her throat.

The medical examiner classified the manner of death as “undetermined,” but in 2016, the case was reactivated.

Local officials decided to look into the case after investigating statements Klingenberg made to dispatchers, witness information and more scene analysis.

A probable cause statement reveals additional details about the investigation.

In 2018, Bernadean’s daughter was re-interviewed and said her mother was not suicidal and had told her the night before that she was planning on leaving her husband.

At the time of the murder, Klingenberg called 911 and told dispatchers that his wife was “not conscious but also made statements indicating that she was trying to fight him and get up,” documents report.

When crews arrived at the scene less than 10 minutes later, they found Bernadean had “likely died at least several minutes prior to their arrival,” which was inconsistent with what Klingenberg said.

In a statement later to police, Klingenberg claimed he had gone to play softball, and when he returned home found Bernadean on the bed with two knives before attempting CPR as a dispatcher instructed, court documents report.

When the case was reopened, detectives found several other inconsistencies, including evidence of blood in a bathroom consistent with an attempt to clean up, documents state.

In addition, the medical examiner found 10 stabbing injuries that were inconsistent with what would have been a suicidal act, documents state.

“Although twenty-eight years is a long time to wait for justice, the Salt Lake County District’s Office will always seek justice for victims. We hope this helps Bernadean’s loved ones begin to find a sense of closure in her death,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

A warrant was issued for Klingenberg’s arrest and he is to be held without bail.

In a statement Wednesday, the West Valley City Police Department shared their appreciation for those who were able to make an arrest.

“A job well done to the team of investigators who have spent years putting together the pieces of this complicated puzzle in an effort to bring justice for Bernadean.”