Deliberation should start today in Kruse trial
WORTHINGTON – The trial of Christopher Kruse will come to an end today in Nobles County District Court once the prosecution and defense teams deliver their closing arguments. After that, Kruse’s fate will be in the hands of the jury.
Kruse is accused of murdering his wife Janette Pigman-Kruse at their home in Brewster in August 2015. He was indicted for first-degree murder in March 2019 by a grand jury, and the trial has been in progress since the last week of January.
The jury has a lot to bring into deliberation. They have watched hours of interviews between Kruse and law enforcement, heard testimony from 40 witnesses, and seen a variety of evidence, including shotguns, ammunition and crime scene photos. They have also learned about DNA, ballistics, fingerprinting and other forensic science.
The task to make a decision regarding Kruse’s guilt is complicated by conflicting statements he made to law enforcement as he tried to verbalize the events of the shooting and its aftermath, which changed from one interview to the next. Statements and testimony from his daughter Bailey conflicted with both her father’s testimony and that of Jeremy Majerus, her boyfriend. Majerus, who admitted on the stand that he lied to law enforcement about going to the Kruse house in Brewster after the shooting, is being offered by the defense as an alternative perpetrator.
Right now, it is the fate of Kruse that is at the hands of the jury. They have to decide – beyond a reasonable a doubt – whether Kruse is guilty or not guilty of shooting his wife, then calling 911 to report someone else had come into their home while they were sleeping in bed and shot her.
According to the Minnesota BCA, the gun used to shoot Jan was found in Chris’ shop down the street. The defense hired a forensic expert that says results of a match between two .12 gauge shot shells found at the scene and the Remington 870 Express found in the shop are inconclusive.
The state contends that Chris may have killed Jan for insurance money or over disagreements regarding the purchase of a resort on Spider Lake. The defense states both were excited for the adventure, but has also done research on the feasibility of the financial aspect of buying the resort.
There is no set time limit on how long a jury can deliberate, as long as they are constructively and objectively weighing the evidence.