The name of convicted California wife killer Scott Peterson was brought up by a state police corporal toward the end of alleged killer Scott A. Dunn’s questioning session with police, the lead interviewer in the case testified Wednesday during the second day of Dunn’s preliminary hearing. Dunn is charged with killing his wife and setting her body and parents’ house on fire.

Dunn, 27, of 469 Branchton Road, Slippery Rock, is charged with first- and second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and three counts of arson in the death of Brandon “Brandi” C. Dunn, 22, his wife of about six months when she died Jan. 14.

State Trooper Michael Kokoski confirmed Dunn’s attorney Stephen Misko’s claim that Cpl. Scott Patterson mentioned the infamous murderer after police confronted Dunn about inconsistencies in his account of what happened prior to the fire at 109 E. Washington Blvd., Grove City, that Dunn reported to 911 at about 7:30 a.m.

Dunn stopped the interview — as was his right, Kokoski said — when presented with the inconsistencies.

“That was the about the only time I saw him show any emotion,” said Kokoski, noting that he never talked to Dunn again after he walked out of the Mercer barracks about 6 p.m. Jan. 14.

Mrs. Dunn’s body was discovered by Mercer East End Fire Chief William Finley Jr. at about 8:20 a.m. Finley testified Tuesday that he was leading a team of firefighters through thick smoke when he kicked something metal on the floor in the foyer and as he moved the debris from around what turned out to be a gas can, he found Mrs. Dunn’s “obviously dead” and “severely burned” body underneath it.

The ranch-style home owned by John “Court” and Debra Montgomery was destroyed. The Dunns were house-sitting while the Montgomerys wintered in southern California.

On the afternoon of Jan. 14, Dunn spent six hours at the state police barracks answering questions. He ended the interview about three hours after completing a four-page handwritten statement that contradicted some things he told police earlier. Kokoski said police wanted to give him an opportunity to explain inconsistencies in the timeline he provided and that they went through his cell phone call log together.

Among the several statements by Dunn that didn’t match up, Kokoski said Dunn told him that he’d gotten a call from Brandi at 3 a.m. asking for a ride, but told her he couldn’t come get her because of problems with his truck. Dunn also said he drove that truck to Slippery Rock to buy chewing tobacco after that and then went back to the Montgomery’s house, Kokoski said.

Dunn also told police initially that he picked Brandi up from a party at 325 Edgewood Ave., Grove City, about 3:30 a.m., took her back to East Washington Boulevard and then drove to their trailer in rural Slippery Rock to retrieve a wallet he forgot, Kokoski said.

Dunn got a call from his wife at 4:26 a.m. and told police he had already gotten his wallet and was returning to the house at that time; when he arrived, Dunn said he found an intruder beating his wife and then the fire broke out, Kokoski said Dunn told him. That man was never found by police and Dunn never asked about him, state trooper Matt Roth said Tuesday.

The couple’s friend Christopher Keck testified Tuesday that he and his cousin picked Mrs. Dunn up at her parents’ house about 5:45 a.m. and took her to the party. Keck said Dunn arrived to pick Mrs. Dunn up from the party at about 6:30 a.m.

Kokoski said Dunn was informed before the interview that he was not under arrest and was free to leave at any time. Under cross-examination by Misko, Kokoski said police did not grant Dunn’s request to make a tape-recorded statement when he arrived shortly after noon, but Dunn did not ask again.

Dunn was not a person of interest when called in for an interview, Kokoski said, and admitted that Dunn was “having a hard time recalling what times he was where” that night.

Misko pointed out that there were no quotes in Kokoski’s report of the interview and said Dunn wanted his statements taped to preserve the details.

“Never in 15 years have I walked into an interview and turned a tape on,” Kokoski said.

The crowd was smaller for the second day of the hearing that will determine whether Dunn goes to trial for his wife’s killing, but members of Mrs. Dunn’s family were there, several wearing antiqued metal angel pins.

“We’re all here to be her voice,” said cousin Amy Mueller. “She was our angel.”

The family declined to comment further.

The hearing continues Wednesday, with four witnesses scheduled to testify at District Judge Lawrence Silvis’ Worth Township office. The first two days of the hearing were held in the Grove City borough building.

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