Wirtjes found guilty of attack on wife in Manly

2012-02-03T11:27:00Z 2012-02-08T10:50:49Z Wirtjes found guilty of attack on wife in ManlyBy PEGGY SENZARINO, peggy.senzarino@globegazette.com Mason City Globe Gazette
February 03, 2012 11:27 am  • 

NORTHWOOD — A Manly resident was found guilty Friday in connection with the sexual assault of his wife at their home in December 2010.

Tyler Wirtjes, 28, was found guilty of two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree in connection with the alleged attack on his 27-year-old wife, Brigett.

The verdict was issued Friday morning by Judge James Drew following a trial on the minutes. The case was handed to the judge for a decision on Friday, Jan. 27.

No sentencing date has been set.

According to the verdict, Tyler and Brigett Wirtjes and co-defendants Zachary Patterson and Jason Walker were drinking at the Wirtjes home in Manly on Dec. 5, 2010.

Brigett was drinking heavily throughout the evening. At about 9:30 p.m. she vomited and resumed drinking, the verdict states.

At about 10:30 p.m., she was sick again and then passed out in the bathroom.

Tyler carried his wife into their bedroom and placed her on the bed, according to the verdict.

Wirtjes later returned to the bedroom and performed oral sex on her and also bit the inside of her legs.

Wirtjes left the bedroom, then returned and performed another sex act.

Later from the living room, he heard Brigett fall out of bed. He went back to the bedroom and placed her back on the bed and performed another sex act.

“She did not move or say anything when that occurred. She was extremely intoxicated and unresponsive throughout the sex acts,” according to the court documents.

When interviewed by law enforcement, Wirtjes denied taking any photographs of the incident. However, authorities were later able to retrieve photographs from his cell phone taken during the sex acts that show Brigett in an apparently unconscious state.

The next morning, Brigett did not wake up.

The cause of her death is undetermined.

During the autopsy, she was found to have suffered a bite mark on her left thigh, cuts on her nose and knees, contusions of the breasts and blunt force injuries to her genital area.

At the time of the autopsy, her blood alcohol level was 0.347 percent which is close to a lethal level.

“The evidence establishes that Brigett Wirtjes reached a shocking level of intoxication on the night in question. It is obvious that the alcohol rendered her ‘physically helpless’ given her lack of response to the defendant’s actions,” Drew stated in the verdict.

“In light of the nature of her injuries, it stands to reason that a conscious person would have experienced a significant amount of pain which would have resulted in some type of resistance or crying out. Photographic evidence provides further indication that the victim was in an unconscious state while the sex acts were being performed.”

A sentencing date will be set after the court has an opportunity to confer with the attorneys, court administration and the Iowa Department of Corrections.

The Iowa Department of Correctional Services has also been ordered to prepare a pre-sentence investigation report to be used at sentencing.

The defendant remains in the Worth County Jail.

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