A Family Feud participant is facing trial in Illinois for allegedly breaking into his estranged wife’s home and fatally shooting her in a vicious attack.
Tim Bliefnick, 39, is charged with first-degree murder and home invasion in connection with the violent death of his 41-year-old wife Becky Bliefnick. Investigators say the couple was going through a contentious divorce that was in its final stages at the time of Bliefnick’s fatal shooting on 23 February.
During the ongoing murder trial at the Adam’s County Courthouse in Quincy, prosecutors have presented evidence and witness testimony that they said prove Mr Bleifnick pried open his wife’s second-storey window with a crowbar before shooting her 14 times, KHQA reports.
The tragedy comes nearly three years after Mr Bliefnick made an ominous joke during his appearance at ABC’s Family Feud. Answering a question by host Steve Harvey on what his worst mistake had been on his wedding night, Mr Bliefnick said that it was saying “I do” — the answer was second on the board.
Now, the alleged murderer is facing between 45 years to life in prison if convicted for the shooting of his wife and the mother of his three children.
In an obituary for Bliefnick, she is described as a compassionate and generous mother who had found her true calling in nursing. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Bliefnick was a travel nurse at the Northeast Regional Medical Center and Hannibal Regional Hospital in Missouri.
Loved ones first became concerned when Bliefnick failed to pick up her sons from school.
Her body was then found on the floor in the bathroom of her home, with a towel underneath. Bliefnick was left “terrified, bleeding, and alone” after the fatal attack, prosecutors said on the first day of the trial on Monday.
In March, the Quincy Police Department served a search warrant at Mr Bleifnick’s home. At the time, he denied any involvement with the crime and said through an attorney that he was surprised authorities didn’t show up at his door sooner.
“Given the circumstances, it is not surprising that the search warrant was issued and executed,” the attorney told local news outlet Muddy River News. “My only surprise is that it took this long to do. It is just as important that QPD conduct such as investigation to rule Tim OUT as a suspect so that investigative efforts can be spent elsewhere.”
Mr Bliefnick has since entered a not-guilty plea.
Prosecutors have revealed during the first week of trial that they found chilling searches for “how to wash off gunpowder,” “average police response time,” and “how to open a door with a crowbar.” DNA from the crime scene also links Mr Bliefnick to the crime scene, according to prosecutors.
Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones told a jury of six women and six men that shell casings found in Mr Bliefnick’s basement matched the casings that were found near his wife’s body. Crime scene investigators also reportedly found Bleifnick’s DNA in an Aldi bag found at her husband’s home.
The couple had filed for divorce in early 2021, court filings show.
Mr Jones said during opening arguments that Mr Bliefnick had reportedly told his slain wife that “she would not get his money.” The prosecutor also told jurors that Bliefnick had texted a friend before her death that if anything happened to her, her husband was behind it.
Bliefnic’s body was found by her father William Postle. Before discovering the gruesome scene, Mr Postle said that his son-in-law texted asking him to check if Bleifnick was going to pick up the children.
Bliefnick’s boyfriend Ted Johnson also took the stand on Tuesday. Testifying for the prosecution, Mr Johnson said that Bliefnick was looking forward to having her difficult divorce finalised.
Sarah Rilley, Bleifnick’s sister, claimed that Bleifnick had first wanted to remain married to Mr Bliefnick for their three children but in the months leading up to her death had become afraid for his life.
“If something ever happens to me, make sure the number one person of interest is Tim. I am putting this in writing that I’m fearful he will somehow harm me,” Bliefnick reportedly texted her sister in 2021.