Judge considers possible testimony in Pernice case

A Clay County judge on Friday heard more testimony about an alleged confession in the disappearance of a Northland woman.

Attorneys for Shon Pernice, who is accused of killing his wife had previously asked that the confession of a federal prisoner be presented during Pernice’s criminal trial.

He faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Renee Pernice, who disappeared in January 2009.

Capt. Steve Siercks, who oversees the Clay County Detention Center, said Friday that Pernice and the other man were both housed in a section of the jail in August 2009. Authorities suggested that the two men may have spoken about the disappearance and other details.

However, attorneys for Pernice said that both men were held in separate cells and there was no evidence that they were together or had spoken to each other.

Defense attorney Eric Vernon has argued that the man’s confession should be allowed during Pernice’s trial, which begins Feb. 27. Clay County Prosecutor Daniel L. White has said that the alleged confession should not be admissible because it is hearsay.

Pernice remains in jail nearly three years after his 35-year-old wife disappeared. Her body has not been found, but authorities say evidence indicates she was murdered.

Circuit Judge Shane T. Alexander said he would consider the matter during a hearing scheduled next month.