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Ex-Family Feud Contestant Guilty in Wife’s Fatal Shooting
“I cannot imagine a greater torture,” Sarah Reilly, Rebecca Bliefnick’s sister, said of the trauma her family has undergone in the aftermath of the February killing.
An Illinois man and former Family Feud contestant accused of killing his estranged wife in her home while she slept has been found guilty.
Bliefnick now faces the possibility of life behind bars.
“This is not a happy day because let’s not forget, those three boys have lost their mother and their father,” Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones told the jury in his closing statements, per Quincy television station WGEM.
Rebecca Bliefnick’s family applauded the jury’s decision in a statement.
“We should not be living in a world where a crime like this is possible,” said Rebecca Bliefnick’s sister Sarah Reilly. “My parents were robbed of their daughter, and as a parent myself I cannot imagine a greater torture.”
The verdict was handed down following roughly four hours of juror deliberations. The decision also came after lengthy and protracted closing statements, in which Adams County prosecutors and Timothy Bliefnick’s defense team exchanged jabs.
At trial, prosecutors said Timothy Bliefnick broke into his wife’s home in February using a crowbar before shooting her 14 times. They said the 41-year-old mother of three died “terrified, bleeding, and alone.” Prior to her death, prosecutors said Rebecca Bliefnick had “feared for her life,” in reference to her husband's escalating and increasingly erratic behavior.
“Find him guilty,” Jones said.
Surveillance footage from several locations as well as cell phone evidence also linked Timothy Bliefnick to his wife’s murder.
“If any one of those times didn’t work out then he’s not the guy, and everyone of those times lined up perfectly,” Jones added.
Bliefnick’s lawyers had previously argued that a “prowler,” not their client, was to blame for Rebecca Bliefnick’s slaying. In her closing statements, attorney Casey Schnack repeatedly called the state’s evidence into question.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt is a high burden, it is a monumental burden,” Schnack said.
Jones, however, slammed the defense’s prowler theory in his rebuttal.
“It wasn’t a random prowler, it was the defendant,” Jones said. “[Rebecca's] calling out for justice, she’s begging you to find the defendant guilty.”
In 2020, Timothy Bliefnick appeared on a 2020 episode of Family Feud alongside host Steve Harvey and other family members.
Bliefnick’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 11. Prosecutors have indicated they’ll seek a life sentence.