(NewsNation) — A jury convicted Timothy Bliefnick, a former contestant on the television game show “Family Feud,” of first-degree murder and home invasion in the slaying of his estranged wife, Rebecca Bliefnick, in western Illinois.
Josh Jones, the prosecutor in the murder trial, and Sarah Reilly, the sister of the victim, joined NewsNation’s “Banfield” on Thursday to discuss the verdict.
The trial lasted more than two and a half months and the verdict came in after just four hours of deliberation. The prosecution presented a range of evidence against Bliefnick that pointed toward his guilt.
“Each witness was just going to get us one step closer to that final verdict,” Jones said. “You know, the shell casings were important. The Google searches were important. The data from his fitness armband was incredibly important.”
One crucial piece of evidence was the discovery of Google searches on his computer that included topics such as homemade silencers, opening a window from the outside using a crowbar, and washing gunpowder from his hands.
Also in evidence were shell casings in his basement that matched shell casings on the bathroom floor where Rebecca was found dead.
“Every piece of evidence was important to get us to where we needed to go,” Jones said.
Joens said videos showed a person on a bike and evidence showed he was the person who bought the bike.
“Every time we saw a person on a bike, his fitness band stopped recording,” Jones said. “And every time we didn’t see a person on a bike, his fitness band was recording, and the only time his fitness band wasn’t recording was when we saw, coincidentally, this mysterious person on the bike. You know, and if it wasn’t him, then he was on the cover of Bad Luck magazine because you just don’t have that kind of bad luck … like this.”
Rebecca’s sister, Sarah Reilly, testified at the trial.
She said she received a text from Rebecca in 2021 saying, “If something ever happens to me, please make sure the number one person of interest is Tim.”
Reilly said the family was relieved by the verdict.
“Ultimately, there can be really no joy in the situation at all because despite a guilty verdict, we will still live with this trauma for the rest of our lives and her boys will live with this for the rest of our lives and you know, nothing can bring her back.”
Reilly said her sister’s three boys are being looked after.
“My parents have guardianship and we will be following the legal process for adoption and everybody in the family will be working in the best interest of the boys moving forward,” she said.
Reilly said it’s hard to say how the boys are doing.
“It’s hard to say because as an adult, we can’t even process the heinous nature of this crime,” she said. “We can’t rationalize this as something that happens to us in our world. So how does a 6-year-old, a 10-year- old and a 12-year-old process not only the death of their mother, but the fact that their father is the one that killed their mother?”
Bliefnick’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 11.
“The least he can get is 45 years. He could be sentenced to natural life,” Jones said. “And our office will unsurprisingly be asking for him to spend the rest of his life in prison.”