Prosecution And Defense Make Opening Statements In John Knospler Jr. Murder Trial
Attorneys on both sides of the John Knospler Jr. murder trial, argued in their opening statements, whether the killing of a man who was too intoxicated and celebrating his 24th birthday at the time, was justified.
Prosecutors say 24-year old James Baldwin, was celebrating his 24th birthday in early October 2013, at Rack's Gentlemen's Club in Natrona County, and had a .208 blood alcohol content.
He left the club under his own power and was looking for his ride home in the parking lot, when he went to the wrong car, that was occupied by Knospler, and was gunned down a short time later by Knospler, who had been hanging out in the parking lot for a time, and was also intoxicated (.143 BAC).
Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen said that Knospler was too intoxicated to be handling a firearm, and when he was arrested by County Sheriff's Deputies, he initially claimed that he had no idea how his driver's side window broke, and denied any altercation took place.
Investigators found windshield pieces in the parking lot and in Knospler's car, but the defense argued that most of it was found in the car, as far as passenger door pocket area, and argued that if the window was shattered from within the vehicle via bullet, that it should not leave the amount of broken windshield inside the car as it did.
Knospler's defense attorney mentioned, that his client tried to move his car forward first, before the shooting, then Baldwin tried to punch out the window, thus Knospler then tried to defend himself, because he wanted out of the situation.
The claim is that Baldwin was bent over, at the time of the shooting, based on the bullet path through his body.
Prosecutors counter-argued the window punch-out claim, saying that the injuries on Baldwin's right fist were not consistent with that course of action.
Medical examiners say that they found glass particles on the Baldwin's chest wound, which suggests the bullet passed through the window first, before it hit him.
The trial is expected to last throughout this week.