Cleary Murder Trial Begins

By WEEK Producer

March 1, 2011 Updated Mar 1, 2011 at 9:34 PM CDT

The murder trial of Daniel Cleary began Tuesday in Pekin, with the prosecution painting Cleary as a person who was controlling of his wife, MeLisa, and who said he would kill her if she tried to leave him.

Daniel and MeLisa Cleary's marriage was not a healthy one, the jury was told, and Daniel "monitored" his wife with phone calls when the two were apart.

Prosecutors say they'll show, through "overpowering" circumstantial evidence, that Daniel Cleary killed his wife in the family's Mackinaw home, and dumped her body at an overpass near Lincoln.

The Defense, in its opening statement, said MeLisa was not controlled, but "liberated" and she frequented what was called an "unsavory kind of bar" where she put herself in danger.

The first prosecution witness was a Tazewell County Deputy, who testified: Daniel Cleary was seen scrubbing part of his garage floor after being told his wife had been reported missing.

The trial will resume Wednesday and is expected to take the next two weeks.