Key Witness Testifies Early in Wehrung Trial

Investigators believe Tom Schell knows a lot about Patty Rebholz's murder.

The former reporter grew close to the 15-year old's accused killer and boyfriend Michael Wehrung while covering the story for Channel 9. That was 37-years ago. This past Tuesday, Schell took the stand early, talking about his relationship with Wehrung and what part he thinks the now 53-year old man played in the 1963 murder.

"I asked him, 'did you hit her'," Schell told the court. "He said, 'I slapped her'."

Schell also talked about conversations he had with Wehrung's father. Since the two were friends at the time, Schell was asked to find out for sure if Michael committed the crime so the family could get him help. Despite incriminating and questionable remarks made by Wehrung, Schell claimed he didn't know then and he isn't sure now who, in fact, killed Rebholz.

One local criminal defense attorney expects that not all of what Schell had to say will be admitted, but it will make finding an impartial jury more difficult.

"This is sensational because it's something new," said David Scacchetti. "We haven't seen a deposition on the news before in a criminal case like this. All of a sudden we've taken a case that's 30 some years old and we are telling the public about the case and we're also showing them potential evidence that my or may not come in."

Prosecutors plan to use the deposition tape once Wehrung's trial starts next year if Schell's health prevents him from testifying in person.