Update — Just heard that Nate Bugg was found and will be taking the stand after lunch today (Wednesday). I’m going to try to get back down there.
Beaulieu trial began this morning with a couple problems. First, the prosecutor admitted that the jury had access to his computer screen while he was taking notes during the questioning of Jason LaSart yesterday. There was apparently nothing significant, and the defense attorney didn’t object to it, but they had to get it on the record.
After that, the defense attorney objected to the state’s first witness, Mervel Jones, because he wasn’t on the witness list. The prosecutor, Zdrazil, said Young was aware that Jones would be called, but Young said he didn’t know it would be today, so his annotated version of Jones’ statement was at his home in St. Cloud.
The judge ended up saying Jones could testify, but he gave Young time to review a copy of the statement provided by Zdrazil. That took until close to 10.
Mervel Jones finally came in around 10 a.m. with a noticeable limp, a large green t-shirt, tattooed arms and neck, and the same close-cropped hair as Aaron Beaulieu.
The prosecutor made it clear that Jones is serving time in Lino Lakes on drug and weapons charges.
Jones told the jury Beaulieu had told him about what happened on July 17. The story was similar to what the prosecutor had said in the opening statements, with some differences. According to Jones, after fighting with Nickaboine, Beaulieu had helped him up, shaken hands with him, and dusted him off.
It was only after that, Jones said, that Josh Boyd freaked out and started kicking him in the head. When pressed and reminded of his statement, Jones said Beaulieu also kicked Nickaboine, but only in the body, not the head, and that both Beaulieu and Boyd laughed while Nickaboine convulsed on the ground. Jones said Beaulieu told him Boyd “double-stomped” on Nickaboine’s head, meaning he jumped up in the air and landed with both feet on William’s head.
Jones also said Nathan Bugg helped Boyd put the body in the Suburban.
Speaking of Bugg, it appeared this morning like his whereabouts were unknown. Like I said yesterday, if they can’t get him to court, it could bode ill for the state’s case because a lot of what they’re arguing was based on Bugg’s statements shortly after Nickaboine’s death. Jones’ well-after-the-fact testimony probably won’t mean as much to the jury, if the defense makes a good case.
I had to leave after Jones’ testimony. Next up was Jeff Beaulieu. Not sure if or how he’s related to Aaron. He looked to be an older guy in his 40s or so.
I learned today that (1.) they were expecting the trial to go through Thursday and (2.) the state has 60-some people on the witness list. Which means (a.) the trial won’t be done by Thursday or (b.) the state won’t call most of the people on the list.
I’ll probably head down this afternoon for a couple hours.