It's day one of the murder trial of Omar Kalmio.
Court this morning was delayed as attorneys and Judge Doug Mattson went into closed session for an hour to discuss an issue with one of the jurors who was selected to hear the case but refused to sit through the trial.
Judge Mattson did find him in contempt of court and levied fines for failure comply with a court order of jury duty.
At 9:45 the trial began with jury instruction and then opening statements from the Prosecution.
Shaun Sipma reports.
It's been two years ago today that four people were killed in Minot.
That's how the prosecution lead by Ward County assistant state's attorney Sean Kasson, began this morning with opening statements.
(Sean Kasson, Assistant State's Attorney) One man guilty, he's in the courtroom.
Kasson then began painting a picture of the crime scene that cold January day.
(Sean Kasson, Assistant State's Attorney) Sabrina was found face down in a pool of her own blood found by her roommate murdered by gunshot, two gun shots followed by a cut to her neck.
Across town Kasson said the deaths were just as vivid at the second crime scene, Jolene Zephier's home.
Sabrina's brother Dillon was executed in the living room with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Jolene, Sabrina's mother was in bed also shot once in the head.
(Sean Kasson, Assistant State's Attorney) "Jeremy Longie, boyfriend of Jolene Zephier single gunshot to the head lying next to Jolene."
Kasson also talked about the volatile relationship between Kalmio and Sabrina Zephier, their young daughter that was found unharmed in the apartment that day, Omar's dislike of alcohol and alleged drug use by the family, threats from Kalmio to Jolene Zephier, and Omar's rifts with the mother of a second child he fathered with a woman from Fargo.
(Kerry Rosenquist, Defense Attorney) "You've heard circumstantial evidence..
The Defense lead by Kerry Rosenquist, in it's opening statements began by picking apart the evidence of the state.
(Kerry Rosenquist, Defense Attorney) "A lot of circumstantial evidence. It was circumstantial that Mr. Kalmio wasn't able to have visitation, Circumstantial evidence, money, visitation, driving a truck that was consistence with 5,000 other trucks in the western part of the state, it's all circumstantial.
Prosecution called on Sabrina's, then roommate Elizabeth Lambert to testify, who at times was overwhelmed by emotion depicting the relationship between Sabrina and Omar.
(Sabrina Lambert, Sabrina's Roommate) "He always said he was going to beat her up. One time he said he was going to be her up and hit her over the head with a bottle and leave her for dead with the garbage or something like that."
Lambert also testified about a conversation she overheard through a wall while in jail.
(Kelly Dillon, Ward County Assistant State's Attorney) "What did he say?"
(Sabrina Lambert, Sabrina's Roommate) "He said Omar did what he had to do."
Following the noon recess, Minot Detective Jason Sundbakken was called on to testify about the crime scene at Sabrina's Apartment showing, at times graphic images of Sabrina's deceased body, and the evidence from the scene.
(Lt. Jason Sundbakken, Minot Police Department) "That would be the back of Sabrina Zephier with a photographic scale inserted and there's a bullet hole, ah bullet wound on the back of her head." .
But none of it tying Kalmio directly to the crime scene.
At the Ward County Courthouse Shaun Sipma KX News.
The trial continues tomorrow in northwest District Court at the Ward County Courthouse.