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Frei seeks insanity plea

Denise Frei intends to plead insanity or diminished responsibility as her defense in her upcoming murder trial.

According to Iowa County District Court documents, Frei’s attorneys, Djalal “D.J.” Arbabha and Philip Fontana of the Cedar Rapids Public Defender’s Office, provided notice to the Iowa County Attorney Aug. 20 that they intend to rely upon the following defenses: insanity and diminished responsibility.

Frei, 44, Marengo, her son, Jacob Scott Hilgendorf, 20, Belle Plaine, and Jessica Anne Dayton, 19, Belle Plaine, are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Curtis Bailey, 33, Marengo. Frei and Bailey were common law husband and wife.

Frei is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 28.


In the case of Jacob Hilgendorf, the court found that good cause exists to extend the time period for filing pretrial motions. Hilgendorf’s attorneys, public defenders Quint Meyerdirk and Peter Persaud, filed a motion Sept. 14. The defense must file all pre-trial motions within 30 days following the completion of discovery.

According to the motion filed, depositions by Hilgendorf’s attorneys have not commenced and discovery is not complete.

The pre-trial conference for Hilgendorf was scheduled for Oct. 1 and his trial was set to start Oct. 12.


Jessica Dayton has hired a new attorney to represent her in her first-degree murder trial. A motion to withdraw from service of the state public defender’s office was made Aug. 26. Dayton retained Douglas Eichholz, Marberry Law Firm P.C., Des Moines, as her attorney.

Eichholz filed a motion Aug. 31 to permit the defense to inspect materials that will be used in the trial. The defense was granted a request Aug. 31 to waive the 30-day requirement for taking depositions.

Dayton’s trial was scheduled to start Sept. 28.

UPDATED September 16, 2009 9:55 AM

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