Victim's sisters testify in Jackson County murder trial - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Victim's sisters testify in Jackson County murder trial

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- The owners of the Midas on East Main Street in Carbondale and a lawn care company next door say they saw a 40-to-50 foot tall cloud of smoke the morning of Aug. 30. 2016.

The Midas owner, Terry Lewis, said the area smelled like burnt hair, but neither man could tell what was burning at first.

"I have daughters, so I know what burnt hair smells like, like from the dryer," Lewis said. "That's what I smelled."

All they found was something Lewis said looked like burnt tires, coal black in color.

It wasn't until the other business owner spotted a skull that they called police, and that skull belonged to Robin Stief.

Stief's sisters testified about their final interactions with Stief.

She lived with Mary Williams, who said she confronted Stief over text messages between her and a man she met online; Texts that raised several red flags to her.

Days later, Stief left a note for Williams, saying she was leaving to meet a man named "Bill Dennis."

Williams called Stief and all Stief said was "I'm OK. It's OK," before a man took the phone and started rambling.

Williams said she couldn't understand what the man was saying, but in other phone calls, Rosie Stief said she understood the man with her sister.

Rosie said the man told her Robin's family didn't care about her, called them a cult, and criticized them for letting her become overweight.

Robert Dennis, one of three people accused of killing Robin Stief, got the chance to ask both of them questions because he's representing himself during his trial.

Dennis asked if they knew Robin to be a liar or if they spoke to anyone else on the phone, and both answered "no" to those questions.

A few other questions were objected to, including questions about Robin's sexuality and questions about child molestation.

The trial is expected to last all week.

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