The family of a murdered eastern Iowa man expressed relief Thursday after sitting through three trials that resulted in three convictions. The last trial ended with a jury finding 45-year-old Denise Frei of Marengo guilty of first-degree murder in the July 2009 death of her live-in boyfriend, 33-year-old Curtis Bailey.
The trial was held in Scott County. Bailey’s 16-year-old son, Alex, teared up as the verdict was read. “Justice has been served, she’s going away and it’s great,” Alex told reporters afterward. “It’s nice to know this is all done and over with. We can move on with our lives and I can go back to school.”
Police said Frei beat Curtis Bailey with a rock and other objects in his home. She was aided by her son, Jacob Hilgendorf, and his friend, Jessica Dayton. They were both convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Bailey’s ex-wife, Michelle Geary, cried with her son Alex as Frei was led out of the courtroom. She said the family had been waiting for this day.
“I absolutely love seeing the handcuffs put back on her. We’re not vengeful people, but they took away a big part of our life and we can’t get that back,” Geary said. Frei claimed she was verbally, physically and sexually abused by Bailey for six years and had to end his life to save her son’s life and her four-year-old grandson.
The jury deliberated a little over four hours before returning the verdict. Frei now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
By Mark Carlson, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids