Don Johns Murder Trial Underway
The murder trial for a Casper man accused of brutally stabbing his roommate to death is now underway. Defense lawyers claim Don Johns was defending himself when Donald Wickersham was stabbed in August 2015, in a North Jackson Street apartment. Johns is charged with first-degree murder and could face prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
The jury was chosen, and heard opening arguments in the case Monday. Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen laid out the events of the night, describing the victim's 29 stab wounds, the Japanese "katana" sword found in a bathtub, and blood throughout the apartment. Itzen described other evidence including a bloody hunting knife that was recovered from a trash container, and said witnesses will testify that both victim and defendant had been drinking heavily and become increasingly argumentative the evening Wickersham was killed.
Public Defender Rob Oldham told the jury that if Johns hadn't defended himself, he'd be dead, and said the burden of proof was on the state to prove that Johns didn't act in self-defense. Oldham said witnesses would testify that the victim had a tendency toward violence when drinking, and said, "We know who stabbed Donny Wickersham, but we don't know why."
The first witness for the prosecution was Lt. Jeremy Tremel, who described what he encountered when he was first on the scene as a patrol sergeant.
The trial continues Tuesday, it's scheduled to last seven days.