Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan this morning told jurors the evidence will prove Joshua DeRosier killed his grandparents.
DeRosier's attorney Chuck Halverson asked jurors to think, scrutinize and analyze everything they see and hear during the trial.
Jurors were swore in and heard opening statements today in the DeRosier murder trial.
Opening statements were scheduled to begin Tuesday, but were delayed one day because a juror had a family emergency.
After the jury of 15 -- eight men and seven women -- were seated, Crow Wing County District Court Judge David Ten Eyck held a final inquiry with the jury, asking if any jurors knew two new witnesses added by Ryan, and if any juror had read, heard or viewed anything about the DeRosier case in the media. All the jurors answered no to both questions.
After the jurors were sworn in, Ten Eyck gave his opening instructions to the jury. They were instructed to not investigate the case, not talk about the case with anyone and avoid media coverage about the case.
Ryan began his opening statements by telling the jury what they might expect during the trial. Ryan then went into the state's claim against DeRosier, and the witnesses he would call to offer evidence to support that claim.
"It is anticipated that the evidence will show a line of direct and circumstantial evidence, including admissible hearsay, that Joshua DeRosier, on or about Dec. 24 at 2:10 a.m., snuck into the home of Theodore and Angeline Bieganek, shooting them while they slept in their bed," said Ryan.
The Bieganeks were asleep when they were shot on Christmas Eve of 2001. Ted Bieganek was shot twice in the head, Angie was shot once in the head. Along with three spent shell casings from a .22-caliber weapon, a .22-caliber slug was found.
Ryan told jurors that he would present witness testimony and other evidence that would show that DeRosier's story had changed many times since the death of his grandparents.
Ryan said in addition to testimony made by other witnesses, he said jurors would hear from a couple staying at the Paul Bunyan Inn the night the Bieganeks were killed who are anticipated to testify that they recognized DeRosier's truck parked at the Bieganek home in a photograph that ran in the Brainerd Dispatch as the same truck that pulled into the Paul Bunyan Inn around 5-6 a.m. Dec. 25. DeRosier at the time lived at the Paul Bunyan Inn and worked as a night watchman in exchange for a free room, said Ryan.
Ryan said the jury would hear testimony by friends of DeRosier who say he argued frequently with Theodore Bieganek, that a former girlfriend is anticipated to testify that while he was living in the Bieganek's home he said, "Look at this house. When my grandparents are gone, this house will be mine."
DeRosier's attorney Chuck Halverson in his opening statement told jurors that this trial would be like a live play. The actors have scripts but they don't know exactly how the play will be played out. Halverson said it was up to Ryan to provide all evidence and the burden of proof rested on him, which is why Halverson said he didn't have much to say during his opening statement.
"It's easy to get swept up in the emotion of this case," said Halverson. "... The two deaths have touched many people. There's no hiding from that."
Halverson asked jurors to distinguish between what they think and what they actually know as facts in the case.
According to the criminal complaint filed against DeRosier in February 2002:
* DeRosier had bought a pickup for $24,000 and Angie Bieganek had co-signed the loan. At the same time Angie Bieganek and DeRosier also applied for credit life insurance, so that if either one of them died the truck would be paid for.
* DeRosier was unable to make payments for his truck and Angie Bieganek had refused to help make the payments for DeRosier.
* The complaint further stated DeRosier had told a friend he wished something would happen to his grandparents because then his truck would be paid off, and he told another friend he had a dream his grandmother was dead.
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