Defense queries widow of murder victim about affair comment

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — The wife of one of four people killed in an attack at a North Dakota property management firm testified in the murder trial Thursday that comments she made to police about having her husband “taken out” if he ever cheated on her were made in jest.

Chad Isaak, of Washburn, is on trial in the April 1, 2019, deaths of RJR Maintenance & Management co-owner Robert Fakler, 52, and his employees 42-year-old Adam Fuehrer, 50-year-old Bill Cobb and 45-year-old Lois Cobb.

Isaak, 47, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder and three other counts. No motive has been offered in the case.

A defense attorney said during opening statements that police overlooked numerous people as suspects and mentioned the ex-husband of a woman who allegedly had an affair with Robert Fakler. The defense revisited the topic on Thursday with Fakler’s widow, Jackie.

She acknowledged that she had made comments in the past about how she would handle her husband if he cheated on her, saying there wouldn’t be a divorce and that she would have him “taken out.” But Fakler testified that she had been joking and had made the comments before homicide investigators told her that her husband may have been having an affair.

Mandan Police Lt. Pat Haug testified that investigators didn’t believe she was seriously threatening her husband’s life and that her reaction to being told about the affair ranged from crying to joking, which he said are typical coping mechanisms.

“It was definitely a surprise to her,” he said.

Fakler said on the stand that she considers herself to still be married and referred to her late husband as her soulmate.

In other testimony, Fakler said she didn’t know Isaak although they might have ran into each other once at a meet-and-greet in Washburn, where Isaak lived in a mobile home park managed by RJR. She said nothing stood out about him as a tenant and that he paid his rent early.

Prior to the murders, Fakler said she had no knowledge of any personal threat to her, or any of the victims, including her husband, Adam Fuehrer, or the Cobbs.

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