By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The defendant gave no opening statement, arguments or cross examinations
The Jason Dominguez murder trial began Friday in Morrison County District Court with Judge Douglas Anderson presiding. Dominguez, nicknamed “Righty” because he lost his left arm in an accident, is accused of murdering Dustin Brown Oct. 3, 2011, over an alleged $1,400 payment for drugs that were never delivered.
The prosecution, consisting of Assistant Morrison County Attorney Todd Kosovich and Assistant State’s Attorney William Klumpp, began with opening statements.
Klumpp spoke to the jury, going over the details of the case. He said that on Oct. 3, 2011, at 3:45 a.m. Dominguez allegedly set fire on and under the deck of the mobile home where Brown was living. He then broke the door, entered the trailer, found Brown sleeping in the back bedroom and shot him seven times.
Klumpp said Dominguez also took Brown’s cell phone and wrist watch. According to the prosecution, the defendant was mad at Brown because he gave him $1,400 for drugs, but never received them.
Dominguez and his friend, then Amber Martin (she has since married), drove away, stopped at a Rice carwash where they purchased bleach and cleaned the car and their shoes. They also threw away Martin’s purse, his hat and some children’s clothing.
In the Kimball area, the Nikes are thrown from the car.
Martin and Dominguez then allegedly drove to Hutchinson, where they lived. They purchased a shovel, knife, flashlight, tote bag and other items at the local Walmart, then buried the gun and ammunition alongside a hiking trail. The shovel and the box it came in were tossed away.
Charges against Dominguez include first degree murder with intent to kill, first degree murder while committing a burglary, first degree murder wile committing arson, first degree murder while committing aggravated robbery, second degree murder while committing assault, second degree murder with intent to kill and possessing a pistol by a prohibited person.
Klumpp said the Little Falls Police asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for assistance. Through the agency, it learned that Brown and Dominguez were in Stillwater Prison together. The BCA went to Hutchinson to talk with Dominguez, who admitted knowing Brown, saying Brown owed him money. He admitted being at the trailer house, but that is all. Martin gave the same account.
Martin was convinced by the BCA that if she had not hurt anyone, she’s a possible witness. She then allegedly told the BCA all that happened and lead officers to the buried pistol and gave them records of the credit card purchases.
The BCA then recovered the pistol, ammunition, shovel and box. They also had receipts from Hutchinson Walmart, videos from Rice Holiday station and Little Falls Super America, along with Dominguez’ sweat pants and shirt.
The BCA also were in possession of the car wash video, Martin’s purse, rags with bleach and children’s clothing. They had the black Nike tennis shoes, the Walmart video and receipt, Martin’s clothing and shoes and a statement from Martin’s daughter.
Klumpp said the blood on both the pistol and the Nikes matched Brown’s DNA profile, the shoe impressions on the trailer door matched the black Nikes and ballistic testing matched the bullets from the gun. Tire tracks from Little Falls Cottages matched the tires on the car Dominguez and Martin were using and the bottle of bleach found in his place of residence matched the brand purchased in Rice.
“The combination of all those items of evidence will prove he did it,” said Klumpp.
Dominguez did not offer an opening statement Friday. Nor did he cross examine any of the witnesses called by the prosecution.
The first witness was Dr. Richard Cash, the emergency room doctor at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls Oct. 3. He said Brown arrived via ambulance at 4:39 a.m.. He said Brown was not breathing on his own and was pronounced dead at 4:47 a.m. He said the victim had wounds in his left chest, right forehead, left arm, two in the right thigh and the right knee, that he had noticed.
The second witness was Jodi Maxson, manager at the Little Falls Cottages. She said she got a call early in the morning about a fire in trailer A-4, where Brown lived. She called 911 after viewing the fire around the deck of the trailer.
Maxson told the court that Dominguez had been at the trailer park about a month before the murder, looking for Brown.
She pointed Dominguez out in court.
The next witness was Kathy Baker, who lives at Little Falls Cottages, two trailers from Brown. She said she gets up early for work and heard maybe six gunshots the morning of Oct. 3. She called 911 immediately.
The fourth witness called to testify was Jane Holman, a dispatcher with the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office. She said she got two calls, one for the gunshots, the other for the fire.
The fifth witness called was Luke Hanegraaf, a special agent with the BCA. He said tissue, charred and uncharred wood, charred and uncharred soil, cigarette butts, a cigarette pack, a lighter, a smoke detector, tan pants with blood and two bullets were retrieved from Brown’s trailer. They were taken to the BCA laboratory for analysis.
Hanegraaf also compiled a crime-scene diagram of the trailer showing the exact location of the rooms and where the evidence was found.
The next two witnesses were officers Richard Mattison and Derrick Nagorski, who were working as Little Falls Police Officers the night of Oct. 3. They both responded to a shots fired complaint.
When they arrived at the trailer, they noticed the fire. Mattison kicked the door to the trailer open, drew his pistol and announced himself. He then searched for people to evacuate because of the fire.
In the back bedroom, he saw a male, face down on the floor, with apparent gunship wounds. He also said he saw lots of blood.
Both Mattison and Nagorski attempted first aid, but stated Brown had no pulse, even though he seemed to gasp for breath once. The use of an automated external defibrillator was attempted, but no shock was advised.
Nagorski left for a time to look for suspects. Finding none, he returned to the trailer to assist Mattison.
The eighth witness Friday was Sgt. Craig Seelen, an off-duty Little Falls Police Officer who responded as a firefighter the night of Oct. 3. He said the fire was out by the time he arrived. He set up ventilation to clear the smoke in the trailer and made sure no other fire fighters entered the trailer to possibly contaminate the crime scene.
The ninth witness was Lealand Siegel, who lives in the trailer next to Brown. He said a person came to his home Oct. 3, at about 10:22 p.m. asking for Brown. Siegel told the man to look next door, there was no Dustin Brown at his address. He remembered the man had glasses, wore a hoodie and had tattoos on his neck. He did not notice the man had only one arm.
He pointed to Dominguez in the courtroom.
“I later saw on the Internet that Brown had been killed,” he said. He said he did not hear any gunshots, but did hear windows breaking when the trailer was being ventilated.
Linda Day, a Gold Cross paramedic was the 10th witness. She provided care for Brown on the scene and en route to St. Gabriel’s Hospital. She said she was dispatched at 4:06 a.m. and arrived at 4:11 a.m. She arrived at the hospital at 4:39 a.m.
Suzanne Brown, Dustin Brown’s mother, also testified. She spoke about her son, his alcohol problems and his time in prison. She said she assisted officers in looking for her son’s cell phone and his watch. The family particularly wanted the phone because it contained some of the last pictures of Brown.
The phone and the watch were never found.
She also said Brown went into prison with two tattoos and came out with many more, many of which were depicting white supremacy ideals.
Suzanne, who did begin to cry, told the court her son had told her about a friend he had made in prison named “Righty.”
The last witness was Karri Yezek, Brown’s girlfriend of 11 years. She also said Brown had mentioned “Righty” as a friend from prison.
Yezek was with Brown Oct. 3, leaving his home at abut 8 p.m. She said he did drink, but never did drugs. He also did not have any new possessions which would indicate he had received an extra $1,400.
Found in a backpack was a piece of paper with the name “Jason Dominguez/Righty” and a phone number. Yezek turned the paper over to the BCA.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m., Monday morning.