Case has never been closed
A civil lawsuit is scheduled to be tried in Sac County District Court starting March 8, perhaps a final chapter in a shocking incident dating to 2001.
In the suit, the estate of Dustin Wehde seeks compensation from Tracey Roberts, who allegedly killed the 20-year-old Early man after a break-in at her home in December, 2001.
The lawsuit alleges that Roberts wrongfully caused Wehde's death by continuing to shoot him after he was no longer a threat to her in the incident.
According to the petition filed with the Sac County Clerk of Court, after Wehde and another subject entered the home and assaulted her, at one point choking her with pantihose, Roberts was able to struggle free long enough to open a gun safe door and grab a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. She reportedly shot Wehde multiple times. Wehde was still alive after the initial wounds.
The petition alleges that Roberts then fled the room with the semi-automatic handgun, as well as with a revolver, which she also removed from the gun safe. After emptying the semi-automatic handgun's 11-shot cartridge in the bedroom when she first shot Wehde, the petition alleges that Roberts then shot Wehde three or four times in the back of the head.
"After shooting Dustin Wehde multiple times with the semi-automatic, Defendant (Roberts) made the conscious and knowing decision to return to the bedroom and kill Dustin Wehde with a second weapon," the petition alleges. "Defendant failed to leave the scene or otherwise cease shooting Dustin Wehde after he no longer became a threat to Defendant."
The second subject reportedly escaped, and has never been identified. Roberts has maintained that she was the innocent victim of an attack, and that she was defending herself and her children. After the incident, Roberts and her husband Michael appeared on a national talk show, and was celebrated as a case of a victim bravely taking action. No charges have ever been filed.
Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure said the case remains open.
"It's never been closed," McClure said Friday. "Nothing's come up since. We just ran all out of leads. There's nothing left to follow."
The Wehde estate petition, dated October 2003, alleges that Roberts' conduct resulted in severe and emotional physical pain, suffering and death, and that she acted with willful and wanton disregard to Wehde's rights and safety.
The petition also asks for damages for loss of parental consortium, loss of full mind and body, physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and all other damages allowable under Iowa law. A jury trial was requested.
At presstime, the Des Moines attorney for the Wehde estate had not responded to a request for comment on the case.