December 17, 2014

Medina
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Dennis Auerswald gets life in prison for murdering wife

MEDINA – Dennis Auerswald was sentenced today to life in prison with a chance of parole after 30 years for the murder of his wife in 2009.

A jury found Auerswald, 60, guilty of murder and aggravated murder last month.

Dennis Auerswald appears in court on the first day of his murder trial. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

Dennis Auerswald appears in court on the first day of his murder trial. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

Prior to receiving his sentence, Auerswald vehemently denied poisoning his wife with antifreeze.

“I find it unconscionable that someone would accuse a loving spouse as a monster watching, giving poison to his wife in a glass or however,” he told Judge Christopher J. Collier.

Auerswald said prosecutors did not adequately prove their case against him, since there was no direct evidence that showed he actually gave his wife antifreeze. He called Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman “the Darth Vader of Medina” and urged county electors to vote him out of office.

In addition, Auerswald also accused the prosecution’s witnesses, many of whom were former friends of Auerswald, of lying.

“You will be judged,” Auerswald said, citing a verse from the Book of Revelation.

Prosecutors presented about 40 witnesses and over 80 pieces of evidence over the course of the two week trial last month. However, Holman said it was Dennis Auerswald’s own words that helped seal the case against him. For example, he told investigators that his wife Maureen Auerswald was drinking cranberry juice the day she died, but no cranberry juice was found in any glasses or in the trash.

Holman noted that Auerswald disposed of it to cover up his crime. “This was a vicious, premeditated, planned murder,” Holman said.

Maureen Auerswald “never got the justice in the marriage, your honor, but she got justice from the jury of Medina County,” he continued.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors’ evidence and witnesses painted the picture of an abusive husband who poisoned his wife with antifreeze so he could be free to date other women and to cash in on life insurance policies.

Auerswald reportedly came home from work at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 9, 2009, to find his wife lying on the ground unresponsive. According to testimony, he refused to call 911, citing various reasons like the inability to pay the bills and the desire to avoid embarrassment for his wife.

Instead, two friends drove from Brunswick to pick up the Auerswalds and take them to Medina Hospital. Maureen Auerswald arrived there around 7:40 p.m.

Several doctors and friends of the Auerswalds have testified Dennis Auerswald appeared unshaken by his wife’s condition and he offered little comfort to her as she died.

An autopsy later showed she died of acute intoxication from ethylene glycol – the main ingredient in antifreeze.

Medina Police found a bottle of antifreeze in the garage of the Auerswalds’ Medina home, but they never found any cups used to drink the antifreeze or drinks used to mix it.

Auerswald’s defense said that meant the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to convict Auerwald of murder. However, prosecutors said that proved Auerswald cleaned up the scene before taking his wife to the hospital.

Read more about this story in the Tuesday print and online editions of The Gazette.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.