‘We were trying to go on’: Chely Wright recalls the role of Clyde Moody in the murder of Sonny Bono

Chely Wright was in the courtroom in Omaha on Friday to watch the trial of John Newton, the man accused of murdering her ex-husband, Sonny Bono, and his current wife, Kimberley.

Bono was Bono’s longtime partner, and Wendy Wilson Bono, his former wife, was his current wife. It seemed to be a happy relationship at first, the argument about which woman had the “golden ticket,” as Wendy put it. The pair tied the knot in April 1991 in front of family, friends and staff. Ten years later, Wright married Bono. All seemed good. Then, on the night of June 27, 2006, along with their friend, Shane Gonnerman, the couple was driving in a car when Bono’s truck blew a tire. The three spent the night at a local bar, where Bonnie Bono, who usually took off after doing the honking lights, drove up at last. Wendy asked her if she’d come home with her. Bonnie asked if Wendy wanted to go. Wendy said no. Bonnie allegedly said that Wendy should be with Clyde Moody — Clyde’s then-girlfriend and mother of his twins — and left with Wendy in the car.

The next morning, a passerby came across a Lexus belonging to Bono’s wife parked in the street with the trunk open. With no one in the car, the passerby decided to search the street for the people inside the vehicle, to no avail. He returned and told police he found a bloodied car seat and blood scattered on the hood of the car. Inside, police found Bono’s dead body in the back seat. It was a macabre discovery that would draw national headlines. Police found Clyde Moody, who was lying in bed with blood on his face. Both men were taken to the hospital, where Bono was pronounced dead. The details of the murder have been debated ever since — some calling it a story of domestic violence, others calling it a professional hit.

It took 11 years, and the discovery of “Clyde’s missing brains,” which led to his exoneration for a second-degree murder charge, to finally have Clyde and Bonnie Newton arrested for Bono’s murder.

In the courtroom on Friday, the 32-year-old Watson-Bono said that her ex-husband spent a lot of time with Clyde Moody when Bonnie told him Clyde was her new girlfriend. “He said he felt that, that Clyde was the only one that could be Bonnie’s biological father,” she said. “And that Clyde never had a girlfriend before.”

Wright’s new memoir, The Wish, is the story of her divorce from Bono, and her divorce from Wendy. The woman from rural Carroll County, South Dakota, writes about the strain of the ordeal on her own family. Her brother, whose name she does not use in the book, provides intimate details about Bono’s ties to the weapons and law enforcement industries, and details his death. Wright reveals that her brother, known as Chase, was “resigned to his fate” and told her she should never look for a body. “We were all trying to go on, and we could only move on after Sonny died,” Wright told People magazine. “He was someone’s soul mate. He wasn’t just my ex-husband, but someone’s soul mate.”

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