In August, when David DeWild pleaded guilty in the 2003 murder of Heather DeWild, wife of his twin brother, Daniel DeWild, we speculated that David had agreed to testify against his sibling in exchange for a lesser sentence. Turns out, though, that he did more than that. Much more.
David participated in a video reenactment of the slaying, which he describes as even more heartless and methodical than anyone suspected -- and no doubt contributed to Daniel receiving a 74-year sentence this week. Details, photos and video below.
As we've reported, Heather was last seen when she met Daniel at a McDonald's to "discuss a check he had received in both of their names and to pick up health insurance forms for their two young children," his father told the Associated Press shortly after her July 24, 2003 disappearance -- a date just prior to the couple's scheduled divorce. Shortly thereafter, the Jeffco DA's office was looking at asking a grand jury to examine the matter, even though no body had been found at that point.
Then, in September, Heather's severely decomposed corpse was uncovered from a shallow grave near westbound Highway 6, clad in the same outfit in which she'd last been seen. The body was in trash bags held together by duct tape with a rope bound loosely to her neck and wrist.
This development only increased authorities' interest in Daniel, who, during the course of the investigation, was hit with a forgery charge for allegedly writing Heather's name on a couple of 1999-vintage checks valued at more than $16,000.
This accusation was dropped in November 2004, with Brian Smith, husband of Daniel's sister, telling the Denver Post. "The charges were unwarranted to begin with. They were trying to harass him." Smith added that Daniel would be "a lot happier when he gets his kids back" -- something he hoped would happen at an upcoming hearing.
It didn't. Jefferson County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Pam Russell told us that Heather's parents, Dave and Carole Springer, retained custody, although Daniel had what she describes as "generous visitation terms."
Why were the DeWild brothers finally charged with Heather's murder in late 2011? The indictment naming them (it's on view below in its entirety) laid out the means of the crime, noting that Heather allegedly went to the Edgewater home Daniel shared with David and Roseanne DeWild, then his girlfriend; the couple subsequently married. (Roseanne is also cited in the indictment, but charges against her were dropped last year.) Heather brought their two kids with her -- a son, then five, and a daughter, three. The boy later told police that Daniel had been "sneaking up on her back," and he didn't "know what they were fighting for."
The indictment leaves out details of the crime itself, but David eventually spilled in a video reenactment that ran 28 minutes. The entire clip hasn't been made public, but 9News was allowed to air excerpts. And they're chilling.
Continue for more about the sentencing of Daniel DeWild, including images and video from his twin brother's reenactment of Heather DeWild's murder. David said that Daniel used the family garage as the murder site, setting it up for the task in advance by laying out duct tape and rope, then attaching a noose to a pulley system. After he lured Heather to the garage, David says on the video, "she asks, 'What did you want to show me out here?' And my brother walks through, closes the door, grabs her by both shoulders and throws her down hard."
David was present when all of this happened. From the floor, he recalls in the video, Heather "looks at me, and I look at her -- and she didn't see it coming. That's when he hits her."
Afterward, the noose was wrapped around Heather's neck and the pulley was used to lift her up.
The portions of the video that presumably reveal whether she was already dead, or if she strangled to death, have not been shared. But we do know that Heather's body was placed in the aforementioned trash bag and buried using heavy equipment. During the entire process, David told investigators, Daniel was "like a football player going through a well-rehearsed drill. No emotion. Every detail planned."
The brothers managed to keep this information secret for the better part of a decade. But now, the story is out, with David getting twelve years for his participation, and Daniel going to jail for 74 years -- likely the rest of his life.
Continue for the video featuring portions of the reenactment, plus booking photos for Daniel, David and Roseanne and the aforementioned indictment. The 9News report:
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Colorado's cold case backlog: 1,518 murders still unsolved."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.