Attorneys for a northern Illinois man accused of killing his wife want allegedly explicit text messages sent by the victim introduced as evidence as possible justification for the violent confrontation.
Brian Sigler has been charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 12 slaying of his wife, Yolanda.
Police said Sigler admitted to killing his wife in their Dixon home and then stabbing himself repeatedly with a knife. The couple’s son then called 911.
His attorney, James Mertes, said that Sigler became angry after discovering sexually explicit text message conversations between his wife and another man, and he argued that those messages – which have been sealed by the court – should be admitted as evidence at trial.
Mertes argued that the texts justified a second-degree murder charge because Sigler had acted “under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the individual killed.”
Defense attorneys claim that jurors must consider Sigler's state of mind at the time of the killing to determine whether the case was first- or second-degree murder.
“This is a case of a defendant actually walking in on an adulterous relationship,” Mertes said.
But prosecutors argued that state law permits statements by deceased witnesses as evidence only if they were made under oath so the statements might have been challenged under cross-examination.
“She’s not here to tell us that those were her (text messages,” said Anna Sacco-Miller, the Lee County state’s attorney. “She’s not here to deny or admit, because she’s dead. There is no proof of reliability of those out-of-court statements.”
Judge Ron Jacobson will decide Jan. 15 whether to permit the text messages as evidence.