Bail set at $1 million for Buchanan County murder suspect

Hillary Hunziker, 32, accused of killing her ex-husband

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INDEPENDENCE — The Independence woman accused of killing her ex-husband will remain in custody on a $1 million bail.

According to court records, Hillary L. Hunziker, 32, made her initial appearance before a judge Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder. During the appearance, Hunziker’s bail was set at $1 million cash or surety bond.

The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Hunziker. According to an application for appointment of counsel, Hunziker is unemployed and has not made any money in the last 12 months. She is not supporting or living with any other family members, the application states.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Buchanan County Attorney’s Office, the Buchanan County Communication Center received a 911 call at 4:34 a.m. Monday from a child identified only as “John Doe.” The child told dispatchers, “My mom just stabbed my dad.”

Before first responders could arrive, Jason A. Hunziker called the communication center and reported, “My wife just stabbed me and took my child.”

Hillary and Jason Hunziker were previously married, but a petition for divorce was filed in May 2011, according to court documents.

When the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Jason Hunziker’s home at 1933 Henley Ave. in Independence, they found him dead in a bedroom with “large lacerations” to his left arm and left calf. Authorities said the wounds appeared to be from a knife or “other bladed device.” Deputies also saw blood on the doorway exiting the front of the home and a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor.

Hillary Hunziker, her vehicle and the child who reported the stabbing were found a short time later in Robins. Authorities have not said where in Robins Hunziker was located. However, she previously resided in Robins, according to court records.

Authorities said Hunziker and the child were covered in blood and a knife was located on her. Hunziker admitted to stabbing her ex-husband and that additional razor blades and knives were on her and in the vehicle, police said.

While being taken to a hospital for treatment for a cut to her hand, Hunziker told ambulance personnel that she had previously purchased the knife used in the attack at Walmart, wore “special black boots” that were quiet and sneaked into Jason Hunziker’s house after parking down the street, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators also learned that the night before the fatal attack, Hillary Hunziker gave her mother instructions on what to do with her child in case something happened to her or her ex-husband. Shortly before 6 a.m., Hunziker told her mother “she had done it” and that she needed to take her child, the complaint states. When her mother asked her what she had done, Hunziker responded, “artery,” authorities said.

Hillary Hunziker has been ordered to not have any contact with the child, according to court records.

According to court records, she was arrested earlier this year for criminal mischief and drunken driving. Around 9:13 p.m. Jan. 12, Hunziker went to a home in Elberon to retrieve a bike. While she was there, Hunziker broke a large picture window and an exterior door window with a wooden board, court records show. A short time later, Hunziker was observed going 83 mph in a 55 mph zone on 73rd Street in Benton County. Authorities said Hunziker had a cut to her hand and smelled like alcohol. Hunziker failed field sobriety tests and a breath test showed her blood alcohol content to be over the legal limit of .08 percent. She pleaded guilty to both offenses and completed a drunken driving class, according to court records.

First-degree murder is a felony punishable by an automatic life sentence.

Hunziker’s next court date is a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 14.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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