'I didn't shoot him:' Trial continues for man accused of killing 2 employees

Matthew Neumann

MILWAUKEE -- Matthew Neumann is on trial for two counts of first-degree reckless homicide and two counts of hiding a corpse.

Prosecutors say, earlier this year, two of Neumann's employees at Spot Free Cleaning -- Richard Conklin and Robert Hajduk -- went missing. Days later, investigators say two bodies were found in a burn pit on property leased by Neumann in East Troy.

"I'm pretty sure they are together," said Neumann.

Portions of Neumann's first video interview with police were played for the jury, with Neumann telling police he was with both missing men on New Year's Day 2019. He explained that, after making the rounds at bars, Conklin and Hajduk took off with one of his trucks to rob a drug dealer for money.

Robert Hajduk

In a follow-up audio interview, prosecutors say Neumann changed his story -- saying he saw Conklin dead in his truck with lots of blood on the pavement. He told investigators that Hajduk took off with the truck to dispose of the body and "leave it for the coyotes".

"I didn't shoot him," Neumann said.

But detectives did say Neumann did offer several hypothetical scenarios.

Arson near 8th and Rogers in Milwaukee -- linked to Matthew Neumann

"In one scenario, he said he would bury somebody 50-feet down with a backhoe," said Franklin Police Officer Shawn Harrison. "The second scenario is he would put somebody in his freezer."

Surveillance video shows a person running from a burning pick-up truck in Milwaukee. Investigators say the truck belonged to Neumann, and a bullet hole was discovered inside. At first, Neumann told investigators the fire was an accident -- but later changed his story when detectives told him they knew Neumann torched it.

Arson near 8th and Rogers in Milwaukee -- linked to Matthew Neumann

"(Neumann) said he didn't want it after what had happened," said Officer Harrison.

Prosecutors say Neumann bought charcoal and lighter fluid. Investigators say cell phone towers "pinged" two of Neumann's telephones near the area of the burn pit at three different times days after Conklin and Hajduk disappeared.

Earlier this year, Neumann pleaded "not guilty". The trial continues Dec. 5.

Human remains found in Walworth County