Trial underway for Christopher Trautman - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Trial underway for Christopher Trautman

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) --The trial got underway Thursday at the Olmsted County District Court for Christopher Trautman, who is charged in the death of 23-year-old Austin Melville of Rochester, when he struck Melville and three others with his vehicle in downtown Rochester Nov. 26, 2010. 

Trautman faces third-degree murder charges, in connection with two alleged hit-and-run collisions that occurred that same night.

The jury was selected shortly after noon on Thursday and the opening statements followed shortly after. 

In his opening statement, Eric Woodford, the attorney representing the state of Minnesota, stressed his case.  "This is a case of an extremely drunk individual who sped through the city of Rochester with no regard to the safety or the lives of the people in his place," said Woodford.

Representing Trautman, attorney Tom Braun responded in his statement saying because Trautman is innocent until proven guilty, the burden of proving otherwise falls on the state of Minnesota.

Three witnesses were able to testify before the conclusion of Thursday's session.  Officer James Novak, of the Rochester Police Department, explained how he was at the scene of the accident when it occurred and was able to see Melville's body "tumbling through the air."

The other two witnesses, George Meitzner of Stewartville and Tracy Vandal of Rochester, were in a minivan at the time of the incident as the Trautman's vehicle blew past them and struck Melville.


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