GRAND RAPIDS (AP) -- Prosecutors opened their murder case here against Brett Lessard, the son of a former state senator, saying he was reckless and probably intoxicated when he pointed a gun that discharged and killed a woman.
Todd Webb, assistant Itasca County attorney, said Tuesday that even if Lessard didn't plan to kill 20-year-old Angie Aho last spring, his extensive firearms training should have prevented him from pointing the handgun at her.
"The evidence will show in this case that he knew better, but he did it, anyway," Webb told the jury in opening arguments. It was "a gun that he knew very well. A gun that he knew was loaded. A gun that he knew was fully loaded with the most destructive ammunition. And he shot her dead."
Defense attorney Joe Friedberg said the shooting was a terrible accident caused when Aho, who was from Cohasset, asked Lessard to pose for a dramatic photograph that she would use for her college photography class.
While Lessard was holding the gun when it discharged, he never intended to fire the weapon and never intended to harm Aho, Friedberg said.
The shooting happened April 17, 2002, in Lessard's living room in Grand Rapids. Aho was a few feet away, holding a camera as she prepared to snap a photograph of Lessard pointing the gun at her. "As he moved the gun and adjusted his grip, it went off," Friedberg said.
Lessard, charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter, is the son of former Sen. Bob Lessard of International Falls.
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