Earlier this morning, as the defense and prosecuting attorneys met with District Court Judge Christina Wietzema, it was reported by Defense Attorney Philip Elbert that the defendant Ralph Apmann was expected to testify today.
Elbert added that he last spoke with his client last night at about 6 p.m. He had stopped by Apmann’s house to have him sign some papers.
A warrant is out for the arrest of Apmann, who had posted $150,000 bail in October of 2021. He faces a charge of second-degree murder without intent related to a death that occurred just outside the back door of the Phat Pheasant Pub in Windom shortly after midnight on Aug. 26, 2021.
Appman, who was scheduled to be in court this morning at 9 a.m. and did not show up. Authorities have been searching for him all morning.
During this morning’s discussion with Judge Wietzema, Elbert added that he intends to have Apmann testify tomorrow. Also during that discussion, which involved attorneys for both the prosecution and defense, today’s proceedings were moved to Tuesday. It was decided that since Apmann was not there, the attorneys would not be present when the judge informed the jury this morning. The jury was not informed that Apmann is missing, or specifically why there would be no court proceedings today.
As he was leaving the courtroom John Gross the lead attorney for the prosecution, noted, “There is going to be media attention on this.” Judge Wietzema nodded and said she plans to give the jury complete instructions not to talk to anyone, or listen to any media reports.
Wietzema has given these types of instructions often during this case, but it seemed to carry extra emphasis when she spoke to the jury this morning.
The jury has not been sequestered since being selected last Tuesday. Jury members heard testimony Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The prosecution rested on Friday afternoon and the defense was prepared to begin its case today.
The jury left the Courthouse shortly after 9 a.m. today.
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