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Local

Wife can testify in Andersen murder case

A judge ruled this week a Putnam County murder defendant's wife can testify for the prosecution.

Clifford Andersen Jr., 68, is charged with murdering his sister-in-law, Deborah Dewey, by hitting her head five times with an object Aug. 22 or 23, 2016, then burying her body around Sept. 7, 2016, next to a vacant house in Standard. Police found her body five days later.

Prosecutors wanted to call Andersen's wife, Diane, to testify at trial about a Sept. 7 text message Diane sent her sister, and similar information she also verbally told others, as to what Andersen told her he was doing, when prosecutors believe he was actually burying the body.

Andersen's attorneys objected, saying this was a circumstance in which a person cannot be forced to testify against their spouse.

Circuit Judge Stephen Kouri heard arguments on the issue Jan. 25, but didn't announce a decision until this week, when he sided with prosecutors.

Diane's role in the prosecution's case also was addressed last summer when a different judge who was handling the case ruled Diane could testify as to what she saw in connection with her husband, but not what she overhead or thought.

Diane has been supportive of her husband.

The next hearing is Thursday, March 15, with trial set for May.

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