COUNCIL BLUFFS — Questioning witnesses in his own trial Tuesday, Bryan Bey accused an Omaha Police Department property room employee of lying and an Omaha police detective of placing evidence at the scene of the beating of Tabitha Proplesch.
After recalling several witnesses, Bey rested his defense without taking the stand himself.
Bey, 39, is charged with first- and second-degree kidnapping in connection with the assault and abduction of Proplesch on May 31, 2012.
Proplesch was found after an Iowa Department of Transportation officer responded to a report of a suspicious truck on the side of a road west of Crescent. Officers discovered Proplesch, who was severely beaten, nearly unconscious with her hands handcuffed behind her back in the cab.
Bey, who is acting as his own attorney in the trial, spent a long time questioning Omaha Police Detective Brian Hayes. Hayes testified during the state's case last week, but Bey recalled him Tuesday.
Hayes helped execute a search warrant on an Omaha apartment where Proplesch was alleged to have been assaulted. The apartment belonged to Travis Labno, 33, of Omaha, who was also initially arrested in connection with the case. Charges against Labno were dropped, and he testified against Bey.
Bey focused attention on a dagger, described as a letter opener during Proplesch's testimony, that Hayes stated he found in the sink of the apartment. Proplesch said Bey stabbed her in the leg with the “dagger.”
Hayes said an orange substance on the letter opener appeared to be “rust-like” and not blood.
“Was the substance put on the blade by the OPD to show it was used in some violent assault?” Bey asked the detective, who responded, “No.”
Bey alleged the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office destroyed evidence when the truck was released to its owners. Lt. Dwayne Riche testified that releasing vehicles to their owners is standard operating procedure after the vehicles have been investigated for evidence.
But Bey said he was not able to have a private investigator comb through the truck.
“Anything that would incriminate me, you collected,” he told Riche, “and anything that would clear my name is gone.”
“We handle every situation the same,” Riche responded. “Whether the evidence is for or against (a defendant) is irrelevant; we still provide the same documentation.”
Bey also accused property room employee Justin Geyza of moving blood samples and potentially damaging his case, and at one point said, “He's just lied.”
That was one of many outbursts from Bey that 4th District Court Judge Kathleen Kilnoski had to address in the courtroom. While Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber cross-examined Bey's wife, Sandra Engel, the judge had to shout for Engel and Bey both to stop talking.
Engel broke into tears several times and said at least twice she did not want to testify.
Under questioning by Wilber, Engel said that she had kicked Bey out of their Crescent home nine days before the assault on Proplesch. Engel said she did it because Bey was using methamphetamine, he wasn't working, and he was staying out all night.
But Engel testified that Bey was still “a good father.”
Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for this morning.