Omaha, NE -- A jury will soon decide if Terrance Hale saved Elizabeth “Betty” Vasholz from a fire, or if he started the whole thing. Hale is accused of killing, Betty’s husband, 83-year-old Raymond “Bob” Vasholz and badly burning his wife.
Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases in this first degree murder trial Friday in Douglas County District Court.
On February 7th, authorities responded to a fire and assault at the Vasholz home near 33-rd & Ernst St. Betty Vasholz was outside with severe burns to her body. Firefighters pulled Bob Vasholz out and got him to the hospital, where he died. Prosecutors say Hale beat the couple, and then started the fire because he wanted money.
The call hale made to 911 was played for jurors Friday morning. He told dispatch, "It's a fire and I tried to save them, I don't know, I pulled one out. Hurry up please sir."
You can hear Betty screaming in the background that her husband's inside.
Jurors also saw a jailhouse interview hale did with KMTV and other media days after the fire, where he told his version of what happened.
A Douglas County Coroner testified that Bob Vasholz died of smoke inhalation. He had 2nd degree burns on 10-18% of his body, and had recent bruises on his arms and head.
The defense recalled one investigator as their only witness. He testified as to what Betty Vasholz said in her 1st two interviews within a month of the fire. Detective Scott Warner testified that Vasholz said the suspect was wearing a hat on February 7th, which hale wasn't. She also couldn't initially identify her attacker.
During the 1st interview when Vasholz saw Hale outside the home after the fire was started, she told Detective Warner why the black male standing in the yard must have started the fire by saying, “If he was running by you he wouldn't be innocent because the hose is right there, he would've been using the hose."
Hale did not testify in his defense during the trial.
Both sides will make their closing arguments on Monday before the decision is left to the jury.