FLORENCE — Attorneys for Demian Blu grilled his co-defendant Clint Wendelschafer Tuesday about how truthful Wendelschafer had been with law enforcement officers and attorneys for both sides in the past.
Blu, 44, is on trial in connection with the 2016 deaths of Keith Long and Renae Gardner. The couple were killed in their home in an Apache Junction trailer park. Blu, Wendelschafer, 34, and Nicholas Douglas, 45, of San Tan Valley have all been charged with the deaths of the couple.
Wendelschafer took a plea agreement in December 2019 and agreed to testify against Blu and Douglas.
During Tuesday’s testimony, Blu’s attorneys pointed out that the outcome of Wendelschafer’s plea agreement depended on how truthful he was in his testimony. They started pointing out discrepancies in statements Wendelschafer had made in various interviews with law enforcement officers, defense attorneys and prosecutors and some of the statements he had made in court. Blu’s attorneys also pointed out that Wendelschafer had told law enforcement officers, attorneys on both sides and the jury during his courtroom testimony that he was fearful of the members of the Loose Cannons motorcycle club.
Defense attorneys also pointed out that under the plea agreement, if the court found that he testified truthfully, that Wendelschafer might only serve three and a half years in prison compared to the life sentence, with the possibility of parole in 25 years, that he could receive if the plea agreement were revoked and he were charged with conspiring to commit murder.
Prosecutors objected to the line of questioning several times, causing Judge Robert Carter Olson to send the jury out of the courtroom at least a couple of times for arguments. Prosecutors argued that the plea agreement Wendelschafer had signed only required him to testify truthfully in the courtroom. It did not apply to any untruthful statements he may have made previous to the start of the trial.
After taking the matter under advisement and reading the plea agreement carefully over the lunch hour, Olson decided that the agreement could apply to statements Wendelschafer had made to attorneys and law enforcement officers after he signed the agreement in December 2019.
He allowed Blu’s attorneys to continue to question Wendelschafer about discrepancies between statements he had made in the past. Wendelschafer agreed under questioning by Blu’s attorneys that he had lied in the past because he was fearful of and felt a loyalty to the Loose Cannons motorcycle club.
Blu’s attorneys were expected to continue to question Wendelschafer Wednesday. Closing arguments in the case may start Thursday morning.