Erika M. Haberberger-Dains
Erika M. Haberberger-Dains
April 7, 2014

The 36-year-old Denison woman who was an alleged accomplice in a scrap-metal heist and double-murder last month near Deloit has not been formally charged for the crimes, court records show.

Erika M. Haberberger-Dains was arrested March 12 for two initial charges of first-degree murder along with her alleged cohorts, Michael Schenk, 26, and Jayden Chapman, 19, both of Denison.

Those initial charges were lodged by the law officers who investigated the alleged crimes. But Iowa law requires the attorneys who prosecute criminal cases - in this case, it's Crawford County Attorney Roger Sailer and an assistant Iowa Attorney General - to file formal charges within 45 days of arrests.

Sailer has formally accused Schenk and Chapman of the murder charges and added one for arson.

Chapman allegedly admitted to investigators that the three went to the farmstead southeast of Deloit to steal scrap metal the morning of March 10, and that when they were caught in the act by landowner Marvin Huelsing, 80, of Maple River, and his friend, Alice Huisenga, 81, of rural Arcadia, Chapman and Schenk shot and killed them, and Schenk burned their bodies in a trailer house fire.

But Haberberger-Dains' role in the incident is unclear in public court documents, and Sailer declined to speculate in an interview about what the woman might face.

"We don't know at this point," Sailer said. "We're just in the process of looking at the evidence."

All three are jailed on $500,000 cash bonds.

Schenk and Chapman have pleaded not-guilty to the crimes. Sailer had hoped to try the two men jointly if their cases go to trial, but he said their court-appointed attorneys have asked to keep the trials separate.

Schenk's attorney has also asked - and a judge agreed - that Schenk be allowed to shed his jail jumpsuit and wear normal clothes to court proceedings to "reduce the effect of undue prejudice resulting from televised images of the defendant." Four television stations and several newspapers are reporting the story with cameras.