Public Safety

Independence woman ordered to prison for life after death of ex husband

Jury found Hillary Hunziker guilty of killing ex husband

Murder defendant Hillary Hunziker, right, sits at the defense table Dec. 17, 2019, in Buchanan District Court after a ju
Murder defendant Hillary Hunziker, right, sits at the defense table Dec. 17, 2019, in Buchanan District Court after a jury verdict finding her guilty of murder was read. (Jeff Reinitz/Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)
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INDEPENDENCE — An Independence woman was ordered to prison Monday for the rest of her life for stabbing to death her former husband and fleeing with their young son in 2017.

Judge Andrea Dryer sentenced Hillary Lee Hunziker, 34, to life in prison without parole in Buchanan County District Court. Iowa law requires the sentence.

She also ordered Hunziker to pay $150,000 in restitution to the estate of Jason Hunziker, her former husband.

And the judge extended a restraining order, which prevents her from contacting their son, for five years. The boy is with relatives.

A jury found Hillary Hunziker guilty of murder during a December trial — rejecting a defense claim of insanity.

Prosecutors said she slipped into Jason Hunziker’s rural Independence home in November 2017 and stabbed him to death. She then took their son, then 9 years old, with plans to eventually have him taken to relatives in Minnesota.

That night, she fled with the boy to her mother’s house in Robins, where she was captured by authorities.

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During trial, the defense argued Hunziker was insane at the time of the slaying and was acting on a delusion that her ex husband had been abusing their son.

Before the sentencing Monday, the judge dismissed defense motions asking for a new trial. The motions argued the jury wasn’t provided with proper instructions and that the guilty verdict went against the weight of the evidence.

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