Attorney: Winterfeld too intoxicated to admit murder

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

District Court Judge Patrick Tott has set a 9 a.m. hearing Wednesday, July 29, to determine if a Spirit Lake man was aware of his rights when he admitted firing a gun that killed 58-year-old Grant "Willie" Wilson of Cleghorn.

Gregg Winterfeld's attorney, Brendan Kelly of Sioux City, argues that his 70-year-old client was too intoxicated to "knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily consent" to questioning on the night of the shooting. Winterfeld faces a first-degree murder charge in Sioux County. Tott set a Sept. 22 jury trial date in Orange City.

Sioux County authorities were called at 10:03 p.m. Saturday, May 9, to the crime scene in rural Ireton, a small community about halfway between Hawarden and Orange City. Winterfeld told Sioux County Deputies Wilson was arguing with his wife, Theresa Wilson, because of "jealousy through a perception that there may be a romantic relationship between Theresa and Gregg."

The argument drove Grant Wilson to grab a blanket, leave the house and sleep in a grey Buick Regal parked outside.

Winterfeld eventually followed Wilson to bring him back inside to sleep on a couch but not before arming himself with a .22 caliber revolver.

As soon as the men got back inside, they began arguing again, according to the accounts collected by investigators. Grant began to leave the residence and Winterfeld followed a second time.

"Then Grant turned around and had a 'crazy' look in his eyes, so Gregg shot Grant near his right eye, killing him," an initial report said.

Winterfeld told investigators he was 3-4 feet away when he fired his gun at Grant Wilson's head.

The incriminating statements came about an hour after authorities responded to the Ireton-area residence.

"(Sioux County) Deputy Justin DeBruin noted the defendant had slurred speech, red, watery and bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcoholic odor," Kelly wrote in a motion to have Winterfeld's statements suppressed. "The defendant did tell the officers that they had been drinking beers and Black Velvet whiskey throughout the day."

After a few preliminary questions and some evidence gathering, Kelly notes that Winterfeld told authorities he was "done talking."

"Instead of inquiring further, the officer offered the defendant a break and a chance to have a smoke," the defense attorney said.

Kelly argues that investigators began the next rounds of questioning at 2:07 a.m. and again at 4:03 a.m.

"Following the last questioning, the defendant was taken to the Sioux County Jail for holding," Kelly wrote. "The search warrant had been obtained and was executed on him. Law enforcement failed, even after the warrant was obtained, to get samples of the defendant's breath or blood alcohol" to determine Winterfeld's level of intoxication.

Theresa Wilson told 911 dispatchers Winterfeld was defending himself because Grant Wilson "pulled a knife out on Gregg." She handed the phone to Winterfeld, who also said Grant "was coming at him with a knife." Theresa Wilson had a blood-alcohol level of .146 at the time, which is almost twice the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Iowa.

Investigators did find a pocket knife in Grant Wilson's possession, but investigators say it was folded up and in his pants pocket. They also note that Winterfeld didn't wear his firearm all day. He only put it on when Grant Wilson went back inside the residence and during the course of the argument.

"Gregg also admitted he un-holstered his firearm during their verbal altercation, before the perceived threat from Grant," the investigators told the court in a request for a search warrant. "Gregg un-holstering and holding it during a verbal altercation, before 'the look' is inconsistent with defending oneself and (is) consistent with an unjustified use of force."

Kelly said the statements were in violation of Winterfeld's rights under the Iowa and U.S. Constitutions.

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