Day one of a five-day motions hearing in Moffat County District Court ended with the court listening to the beginning of an audio recording between Terry Hankins and local investigators.
Hankins, 71, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the June 2007 death of his wife, Cynthia Hankins, of Craig. He also is charged with felony counts of theft more than $15,000, possession of a controlled substance and forgery, and misdemeanor counts of abuse of a corpse and theft under $500.
He has pleaded not guilty.
The court heard evidence Monday on defense motions to suppress. The motions hearing is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. today and conclude Friday.
Detective Ken Johnson, a Craig Police Department officer detailed to the All Crimes Enforcement Team, took the stand Monday afternoon.
Shortly into his testimony, prosecutor Carl Stahl introduced a video recording of a July 5, 2007, interview between Hankins and Johnson at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.
Hankins was at the interview voluntarily, Johnson said.
The video is about three hours long, and the court watched the first 30 minutes of the recording. Viewing will resume today with Johnson on the stand.
Johnson and Detective Jen Kenney, of the Craig Police Department, interviewed Hankins on July 3, 2007, on his property north of Craig, near the Wyoming border, two days before the interview at the Public Safety Center.
Prosecutors allege Hankins murdered his wife and then buried her on his property. Hankins' defense has countered that he was a victim of domestic violence and acted in self-defense.
In a recording of the July 3 interview, Hankins described a turbulent relationship with his 36-year-old wife, and said that he once had filed for divorce, but later backed out. He also said she was "secretive," regularly used drugs and was abusive to him.
He told investigators the last time he saw his wife, she packed some clothes and left without explanation.
"I'd like to see her come back," he said on the recording.
Later, he added, "I have feelings for her, despite all the problems."
During a June 2007 interview with Kenney and Investigator Jeremy Ashton, of the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Hankins said on a recording that his wife possibly could have fled to Montana, had "lesbian tendencies" and was involved with people who were "unsavory."
At one point during an interview with Kenney, the investigator told Hankins that authorities were working hard to find Cynthia Hankins.
"I suspect she probably doesn't want you to find her," he said on the recording.
• Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or firstname.lastname@example.org.