- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

BERLIN, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin man charged in the deaths of his estranged wife and her boyfriend initially denied going to her apartment the night the two were shot and killed, but later changed his story and told police he was there, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Nicholas Tuinstra, 33, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Melissa Tuinstra and Justin Daniels, both 28.

Bond for Nicholas Tuinstra was set at $1 million cash on Thursday. He remained jailed and is not to have contact with the victims’ families once released. His public defender did not immediately respond to a phone message for comment.

A pedestrian spotted Melissa Tuinstra lying outside of her building late Saturday night and called police. The responding officer found Daniels face down in the apartment’s doorway. Both had been shot from behind.

Melissa Tuinstra had filed for divorce days earlier. A neighbor told investigators that she overheard Nicholas Tuinstra arguing with someone on the phone in early September, around the time Melissa Tuinstra moved out of the couple’s house, and said he threatened to kill that person, the complaint states.

Tuinstra initially told police that he had never been to his estranged wife’s apartment. But on Tuesday, he told two officers that he wanted to fill in some gaps in his initial statement, according to the complaint. He said he went to his wife’s apartment after calling and exchanging text messages with her. Tuinstra told police he spoke to his wife in the hall while Daniels was standing in the doorway, and that Daniels wanted Melissa Tuinstra to come back inside.

Tuinstra told police he had given his wife a handgun about a week earlier to protect herself, and that he thought he heard a gun being cocked from inside the apartment the night he was there, the complaint states. Police did not find a gun in the apartment, at Tuinstra’s house or at his parents’ home, where he arrived at about 11 p.m. Saturday and spent the night.

Berlin police have asked for the public’s help in locating the gun used in the slayings.

According to police, a call from Daniels’ phone to a friend around 10:15 p.m. Saturday was recorded in a voicemail in which two loud gunshots and other noises could be heard.

The discovery of Daniels’ and Melissa Tuinstra’s bodies led police to issue an Amber Alert for her 8-year-old daughter. The child was later found visiting relatives.



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