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January 12, 2000 12:00 AM

Wolsey Minister Murder Trial Starts

The murder trial of the Wolsey, South Dakota minister accused of killing his wife, started today. Investigators say William Guthrie, the pastor at the Wolsey Presbyterian Church drugged his wife so she passed out and drowned while taking a bath. KELO-LAND's John Bachman was in court where prosecutors presented computer evidence. William Guthrie showed little emotion going into the courtroom with his lawyer. Guthrie is accused of killing his wife Sharon last May. She was found in the couple's Wolsey home, an autopsy showed she had taken a large dose of temazapam. Investigators say Guthrie slipped the sleeping pills into his wife's hot chocolate before her nightly bath, knowing she would pass out and drown. The deputy Sheriff investigating the case told State's Attorney Mike Moore that when he searched Guthrie's home in June he found a prescription bottle filled the day before Sharon Guthrie died. The deputy says there was one pill in the bottle when he found it on the bed stand. The State's Attorney then called a computer expert to the stand who testified that Guthrie logged onto the internet to research the sleeping pills, and bathtub accidents. The computer Guthrie allegedly used was taken from the church office next door to his home. The computer expert told the defense that he was not asked to look for suicide notes. Guthrie told investigators his wife talked about suicide and had trouble sleeping. The defense pointed out that finger prints were never taken from the prescription bottles. As for the Guthrie slipping the pills into the hot chocolate, he says he was praying in the church. Guthrie's daughter Suzanne Hewitt was at the trial today.

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