Detective says he found Nikki Wilhoite's blood in her husband's truck bed

Apr. 16—A friend to Andrew and Elizabeth 'Nikki' Wilhoite testified Tuesday that Nikki disliked her stepdaughter.

Andrew Wilhoite of rural Lebanon was charged with murder in the death of his wife. His trial is underway this week in Boone Superior Court I.

Her husband revealed to a friend during a jail phone call that Nikki was "going after" his oldest daughter just before he killed her. The children were upstairs at the time and he claims Nikki was going to go up and get her stepdaughter. But he didn't tell police that when they interviewed him for more than two hours the day after her death, testimony revealed.

Nikki, 41, and Andrew, 39 at the time, were fighting after a night of drinking at their home in March 2022. It wasn't unusual for the couple to drink to excess and fight, and the fights were routinely physical, Andrew told police.

Nikki had learned of an extramarital affair Andrew had with an older woman he met at a fraternal club, and she filed for a legal separation. They were married 12 years and were the parents of a son and daughter together. Andrew also brought to the union an older daughter from a previous marriage.

Detectives found a copy of the separation filing in Andrew's farm truck, the same one in which he hauled her body to the drainage ditch and dumped it, Indiana State Police Detective Chris Martin testified.

Martin also found Nikki's blood in the truck bed after removing bags of animal feed stacked atop of it in the bed, Martin testified.

Andrew had left the argument that night and went to bed, but Nikki flew at him in a rage and scratched his neck with her fingernails, he told police.

An ISP forensics biologist confirmed his DNA was found under her nails, and Martin's photos of Andrew's condition at the Boone County Jail revealed scratches on his neck, arms, shoulder, and chest.

They moved outside to the porch on their cattle farm in the 4000 block of N. County Road 175 E. to avoid alarming the children and she kept attacking him, his attorney James Voyles claimed, adding that Andrew fell off the porch and to his knees. A clay or ceramic flower pot was in front of Wilhoite and he picked it up to swipe at her to stave off a blow in self defense, Wilhoite told police.

But the jail call made in July 2022 added to the story Wilhoite told police, Boone County Deputy Prosecutor Heidi Jennings told the jury before playing the recording.

"She was going after [name withheld]," Andrew said to his friend. The friend asked what Andrew meant by "going after," and Andrew replied, in part, "That's when I grabbed a hold of her and shit happened."

An ISP detective testified Tuesday that the pot broke and was never found. But he collected its twin from the porch and it weighed about 27 pounds.

The state is expected to rest its case as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Then Voyles will call witnesses, which he said will include several family friends who will testify that the couple enjoyed a loving marriage plagued by martial stressors.