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KEOSAUQUA – The second day of Shawn Bentler’s trial moved from the crime itself to an examination of how authorities proceeded with their investigation.

Two agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation were key in the early proceedings Tuesday. Prosecutors called Agent Darrell Simmons and Agent Bill Kidtzman to help explain how the investigation developed.

Simmons emerged as an important figure in the case during Monday’s testimony. It was Simmons who had custody of Shawn Bentler’s clothing while it was in bags on the back seat of his car. The defense sought exclusion of a sock with bloodstains partially on the basis of that delay.

Defense attorney David Sallen returned to the issue in his cross examination of Simmons.

“How long did you have that?” Sallen asked.

“October 18th,” Simmons replied.

“Approximately two days?” Sallen pressed.

“Yes,” said Simmons.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown tried to deflect the defense questions. He asked Simmons about his return to the Bentler home after taking custody of the clothing. Simmons said he wore gloves as a precaution and was cautious to avoid bloodstains.

Kidtzman led the interview with Shawn Bentler after police in Quincy took him into custody on drug charges there. He said authorities regarded Bentler as a suspect in his family’s murder because of Shayné Bentler’s 9-1-1 call.

“On the basis of that Shawn Bentler developed at least as a suspect?” Brown asked.

“Yes,” Kidtzman said.

“At least someone DCI wanted to talk to?” Brown asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

Prosecutors also introduced the tape of Bentler’s interrogation by police. Police told him of his family’s murder during the interrogation. The state maintains that his reaction was not consistent with a person close to his family when he hears they are dead.

Defense attorney D.J. Arbabha challenged a portion of the tape. He said the court previously agreed that speculation on Bentler’s reaction to the news was not admissible.

“I think this is a bit of a twist on what the defense was asking for in their motion ad limine,” Brown responded. The motion sought to prohibit Kidtzman’s speculation from the witness stand. He said statements in interrogation are designed to elicit responses and are “not offered for their truth.”

Mullins said he will view statements about Bentler’s reaction on the tape as an interrogation technique, not testimony.

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