UPDATE: Trial ahead in Mazomanie murder case - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Trial ahead in Mazomanie murder case

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The man accused of killing Cheryl Gilberg of Mazomanie has admitted to being involved in her death, but claims the gunshots that killed her were accidentally fired. 

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon, Phillip Byrd pleaded not guilty to 1st degree intentional homicide.

Attorneys called Dane County Detective Todd Benisch to the stand to shed some light on the department's investigation. Benisch says Byrd told detectives during an interview that he and Gilberg got into a physical altercation the night she died. He claims that during the scuffle Gilberg grabbed her pink revolver and pointed it at him. Byrd says he was able to pull the gun away from her, but the gun accidentally fired two rounds. During that interview Benisch says Byrd took full responsibility for Gilberg's death and showed some remorse.

"He wished Wisconsin had a death penalty so he could count down the days. He wished his coffee would be poisoned. He was sad he never had the opportunity to say he was sorry to her. He said this was all on him, nobody else," Benisch explained during the preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Benisch also explained that Byrd admitted to fleeing the scene and stopping along Highway 14 to throw the pink gun as far as he could. That gun is still missing at this time.

Judge John Markson determined there was enough evidence to send Byrd to trial. Attorneys on both sides will have the next few weeks to build their case.  After that, Judge Markson will hold a status conference to see how long the trial is expected to take. Stay tuned to 27 News and wkow.com as this case progresses in Dane County court.

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Madison (WKOW)-- The man accused of killing Mazomanie woman Cheryl Gilberg will appear in Dane County court Wednesday afternoon. 39-year-old Phillip Byrd of Janesville is charged with 1st degree intentional homicide in connection with Gilberg's murder in February.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office says Byrd was a former boyfriend of Gilberg. A charge modifier of domestic abuse may come into play during the case. Byrd has been in custody since February 24th.

Tune into 27 News at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. for the latest updates in this case.

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