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Prosecutor: Fiance Of Slain Teacher Looked At Life Insurance Policy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Investigators say a man accused of strangling his fiancee had checked on the status of her $750,000 life insurance policy.

Ian Campbell is charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation death of elementary school teacher Heather Domenie.

Assistant District Attorney Howard J. Cummings revealed thepreviously undisclosed detail Tuesday during a hearing on thestatus of pending murder cases in Wake County. He was detailing thestate's reasons for seeking the death penalty against Ian AuldenCampbell to Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Donald W.Stephens.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty based on the nature of Domenie's injuries and the facts surrounding theinsurance policy application, Cummings said. At a hearing lastmonth to officially notify Campbell's attorneys, Cummings offeredno explanation for the decision to seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors contend that Domenie was strangled in the couple'sCary home July 25.

Domenie, 33, who taught first grade in Raleigh, had moved fromHalifax, Nova Scotia, with Campbell, 29, almost two years ago. Thecouple planned to get married in September after putting off thewedding several times, Cummings said.

The insurance application did not list a beneficiary, and nomoney has been paid, Cummings said.

Campbell listened quietly as Cummings described the state'sevidence against him. One of his lawyers, Thomas C. Manning,indicated the defense planned to use its own forensic experts tochallenge an autopsy conclusion that Domenie died by strangulation.

Campbell told police on July 25 that Domenie had been sick allday. When he returned from buying her some Gatorade, he said, shewas lying face down in their bed with a towel around her neck. Hebelieved she might have choked herself.

Stephens refused to grant a request to allow Campbell to beplaced on house arrest until his trial, tentatively scheduled forMay 19.

As a Canadian citizen, Campbell could flee to Canada, whereofficials could refuse to return him for trial if prosecutors seekthe death penalty. Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976.

Manning tried to assure Stephens that Campbell wasn't a flightrisk by pointing out that he returned to North Carolina afterattending Domenie's memorial service in Nova Scotia. Manning saidCampbell could stay at a Raleigh apartment rented by his parents,who also offered to put up $750,000 in stocks as collateral againsthim fleeing.

If Campbell did flee, Manning said, the Canadian consulatepromised to return him for trial. The Canadian government wouldneed assurances that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty,Manning acknowledged.

Cummings countered that Campbell hadn't been charged with murderat the time of the memorial service. Cary police charged Campbellwith first-degree murder three weeks after Domenie's death.

"When he left, he assumed the story he had given lawenforcement was the story they believed at that time," Cummingssaid.

Court records later revealed that Campbell had been seen holdinghands with another woman since Domenie's death. As a result, policesearched the woman's Raleigh apartment and found a guide toplanning a Las Vegas wedding.

An autopsy report by a medical examiner who examined Domenie'sbody July 27 said there were ligature marks on her neck, twopuncture wounds on her upper left arm and a pair of bruises withpuncture wounds on the left side of her neck. A few days before herdeath, Domenie was reported to have had several days of nausea,vomiting and fever, the autopsy reported.

The autopsy concluded that Domenie was strangled.

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