Opening statements made in Thomas Petersen murder trial - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Opening statements made in Thomas Petersen murder trial


The Thomas Petersen murder trial got underway Wednesday afternoon as attorneys made their opening statements.

Thomas Petersen is charged with first degree murder in the death of his wife Renee. Officials say he also ran away with the couple's two year old son. The two were found in South Dakota.

In the opening statements the prosecution says despite being drunk they can prove Petersen committed first degree murder with intent.

The defense however says Petersen blacked out and didn't know what happened when he came to. The defense attorney says Peterson saw the bloody mess and took off.

Opening statements began mid-afternoon after taking a day and half to select the jury and two alternates. Assistant Attorney General Doug Hammerand gave his opening statements by laying out the murder and Petersen's arrest.

Hammerand said the marriage was over and Renee Petersen was in the process of getting a divorce from her husband. Hammerand also says Petersen used three different knives to murder his wife, which caused 129 cuts and stab wounds. Petersen used so much force during the murder that he bent the knives.

The defense attorney Susan Flander says Petersen has a long history of alcohol abuse and he had been drinking the day of the murder. She says Petersen blacked out and when he came to he saw the murder scene and his first reaction was to get his two-year-old son and get out of the house.

Renee Petersen's son Cody George was the first witness to take the stand. George found his mother's body the night of the murder after returning home from fishing.

The Petersen trial is expected to last seven days.

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