Public Safety

Independence woman charged with killing her ex-husband wants her confession thrown out

She is accused in fatal stabbing of ex-husband in November

Hillary Lee Hunziker, 32, of Independence, arrives for her Nov. 7 initial appearance in Buchanan County District Court. She is accused of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of her ex-husband on Nov. 6 at his home. She is asking a judge to throw out her confession, saying she had a mental illness at the time that prevented her from understanding her rights. (Jeff Reinitz, Waterloo Couirer)
Hillary Lee Hunziker, 32, of Independence, arrives for her Nov. 7 initial appearance in Buchanan County District Court. She is accused of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of her ex-husband on Nov. 6 at his home. She is asking a judge to throw out her confession, saying she had a mental illness at the time that prevented her from understanding her rights. (Jeff Reinitz, Waterloo Couirer)
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INDEPENDENCE — A woman charged with killing her ex-husband in 2017 wants the judge to toss out her confession and other statements she made to police because she had a mental illness at the time that prevented her from understanding her rights.

Hillary L. Hunziker, 32, of Independence, charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Jason A. Hunziker on Nov. 6 at his home, will claim insanity/diminished responsibility as her defense.

Her trial was recently reset to Aug. 8 in Buchanan County District Court.

A criminal complaint states that a 9-year-old child, during a 911 call about 4:34 a.m. Nov. 6, told dispatchers, “My mom just stabbed my dad.”

Before emergency personnel arrived, Jason Hunziker also called 911 and said, “My wife just stabbed me and took my child,” according to the complaint.

The Hunzikers divorced in May 2011, court documents show.

The couple’s child is now living with a relative, according to guardianship court records.

When Buchanan County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Jason Hunziker’s home, 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 front doorway and a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor.

Hillary Hunziker, her vehicle and the 9-year-old were found a short time later in Robins, according to court documents. Hunziker previously lived in Robins.

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Authorities said Hunziker and the child were covered in blood, and a knife and razor blades were found on her. Other knives were recovered from the vehicle.

The statements the defense likely wants to keep out of trial is Hunziker’s confession, which court documents show she made to police.

While being taken to a hospital for a cut to her hand, Hunziker also told ambulance personnel that she had bought the knife used in the assault at Walmart and wore “special black boots” that were quiet so she could sneak into her ex-husband’s house after parking down the street, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint also states investigators learned the night before the fatal attack that Hunziker gave her mother instructions on what to do with her child in case something happened to her or Jason Hunziker.

Shortly before 6 a.m., Hunziker told her mother “she had done it” and that she needed to take her child. When her mother asked her what she had done, Hunziker responded, “Artery,” authorities said.

First Judicial District Judge Andrea Dryer found Hunziker was competent to stand trial in April.

A suppression hearing regarding Hunziker’s statements made to police is set for Aug. 3.

Hunziker remains in jail on a $1 million bail. If convicted, she faces life in prison without parole.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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