With evidence mounting, Cecil’s body was exhumed from where it had been laid to rest in Indiana 20 days earlier, and an autopsy and toxicology tests were underway.
Happy or homicidal?
Although Kathy had claimed the marriage was a happy one, investigators discovered entries in her appointment book indicating the marriage was on the rocks and Cecil had asked her to move out.
When toxicology reports arrived, they showed Cecil's death was anything but natural. He had died of an overdose of eight prescription drugs, including lethal levels of barbiturates, codeine and the muscle relaxant Soma.
By September 2001, then-District Attorney Kristi Valls had Birge charged with capital murder for killing her husband and committing forgery to collect $51,500 in life insurance and $57,173 in deferred pay proceeds — a total of $108,673.
As the probe into the death continued, a friend of Kathy's would drop a bomb that could be her undoing.
See Tuesday's edition of The News Courier for the second part of this series; the conclusion is in Thursday's News Courier.