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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wendelsdorf: 'confession is a gory lie'

Thursday, December 7, 2000

Testimony claims that murder story was made up to impress a woman, but witness is caught in more lies on stand.

Jesse Wendelsdorf denied killing 2-year-old Shelby Duis, testifying Wednesday in Algona that he told his girlfriend about beating the child to give her "a high off of hearing the gory stories."

Wendelsdorf - the live-in boyfriend of Shelby's mother, Heidi Watkins, at the time of the toddler's death - adamantly denied killing the toddler despite the claim by Watkins' attorney that he had confessed to Storm Lake businesswoman Julie Ballantini.

The Spirit Lake man, acquitted this summer of first-degree murder and sexual abuse by a Buena Vista County jury, said Ballantini persisted in asking him about the case and he finally relented with three fabricated stories about Shelby's death to quench her interest.

"I thought she'd get a high off of hearing the gory stories," Wendelsdorf said. "I had it up to here from hearing all these questions all the time thinking I did it. I was like, 'OK, I did it. Is that what you want to hear?"

Read the rest of this article in the 12/07 Pilot Tribune.

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