Corey Yardley

Dream Big

Denise Frei Trial

with 3 comments

Denise Frei, 45, from Marengo, Iowa is on trial this week in Scott County for the brutal murder of her boyfriend Curtis Bailey, 33.  Her son, Jacob Hilgendorf, 21, and his girlfriend, Jessica Dayton, also 21, were involved and both were convicted of 1st degree murder.

According to Frei, Bailey had abused her sexually, physically, and verbally.  She told authorities that he threatened to kill her entire family, including burning Hilgendorf and killing her 4 year old grandson if she tried to leave him.

Frei felt like she had no control over the situation and felt as though not even the authorities could protect her and her family, so she took matters into her own hands.  She mentioned unsuccessfully trying to kill him with insulin a couple weeks before she got the job done.

Although she got the job done, things didn’t go as smooth as she planned.  The plan was to drug up Bailey with prescription medications and liquor.  Bailey even bragged to co-workers earlier in the day that he was going to have a three-some with Denise and another girl.  That other girl was Hilgendorf’s girlfriend Jessica Dayton.  Frei and Dayton agreed to do a sex act for every shot of whiskey that Curtis did.  Once Bailey was passed out Frei and Dayton were going to wrap him up with plastic wrap to suffocate him.

Curtis wakes up however, and realizes what they are trying to do to him so he fights back.  He was a big guy, and could easily handle the two girls on his own which is why Denise asked her son Jacob to help, too.

Between the three of them they could have delivered up to 30 blows to his head with a landscaping rock, he also suffered multiple and deep lacerations from a glass candy dish.  They attempted to clean everything up but there was too much blood, it was everywhere.

Jacob and Jessica grabbed as much evidence from the scene as they could and threw it in Hilgendorf’s Ford Explorer and headed off to a friends house to stay the night.  They burned their clothes and some of the evidence from the scene.  Obviously we know that it didn’t end well for any of them.

I don’t know very much about the law so if someone out there that is more knowledgable could please help me out with this I’d greatly appreciate it-

What is Hilgendorf’s lawyer doing?  Is he waiting for Frei’s trial before he make’s his move and appeals Hilgendorf’s sentencing?  He didn’t even try to defend Hilgendorf during his trial, I hope that this is strategy.

How many mothers ask their son and his girlfriend to help kill the man that tore up their mother/son relationship?  It’s obvious Hilgendorf’s father wasn’t around, so when your one and only parent, the woman who gave you birth asks for a favor and promises that it will bring you two closer together.  That it will end the abuse and end their fears, and promises a new beginning.. What would you do?

Jacob should be in prison for knowing that a plan was in tact and for trying to help clean up with things got messy.  But there is no physical evidence proving he killed Curtis Bailey in the 1st degree.

I would like to know what you guys think-



3 Responses

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  1. Corey- An appeal only gets Jacob a new trial, not lesser charges. Jacob was a major player in this murder. He helped plan, carry out and attempt to cover up this crime. He should and will spend the rest of his life in prison for these deeds. Remember, he confessed to everything he did. He made a huge mistake that will cost him his life’s freedom. All three will be convicted and their appeals will not be successful. You have great law enforcement in your Sheriff’s Office. You should be proud to be from Iowa County. Many murders such as these go unsolved. Your local county law enforcement have cleared three murders in about 14 months. When the dust clears, you may find a good story in learning how they did it and write about it for us.


    August 25, 2011 at 6:16 AM

  2. Yes I know that an appeal doesn’t automatically drop his charges or change his sentencing. My question was more towards the strategy of HIlgendorf’s attorney. Was his weak effort to defend Jacob in the initial hearing intentional to reveal as little information as possible and wait for the appeal to actually try and represent his client?
    I agree with you that Jacob played a major role in this murder. He should definitely spend some hard time for his involvement. But I disagree with you that he should and will spend the rest of his life in prison. After getting to know Denise during her trial it’s obvious Jacob was raised by a monster. But he loved his mother because she was all that he had, so he didn’t have much. Curt physically abused Denise and hated Hilgendorf so much that he threatened him with slow and painful deaths.
    Please do not think that I believe Jacob, Denise, or Jessica were doing the right thing, because they all made very poor decisions. I don’t care what Curt did to Denise, murder is never the right answer.
    I am very proud to be from Iowa County and our law enforcement. They have handled the recent tragedies very well considering all are out of character for Iowa County.
    My main point is that I believe Jacob was only an accessory to the crime. His confession’s were proven to be false and should not be used in trial. There is no physical evidence proving Jacob actually murdered Curtis, and he even had a bite mark on his leg from Curt.
    My father, Chad Dietze was shot and murdered in Victor right on the Iowa/Poweshiek County Line Road. The man who killed him was known as a meth addict. He did not serve life in prison and coincidentally after my father died, there were multiple meth busts surrounding the Iowa County area. It doesn’t bother me one bit that he is out of prison, because he hasn’t hurt anyone since.

    Corey Yardley

    September 2, 2011 at 3:41 PM

  3. Jacob is being prosecuted under a theory of Accountability. Under this theory, many states have adopted the principal that if you are with someone who committed first degree murder and you don’t do anything to stop it or call authorities, you are just as responsible as the person who pulls the trigger. It’s a strict liability tort.


    July 4, 2017 at 4:22 AM

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