Jury Deliberating Murder Case

On Tuesday, both the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments to the jury at the Minnehaha Courthouse. Alex Wittenberg is facing one count of second degree murder and three counts of manslaughter for the fatal November 2016 Dell Rapids shooting of Jon Puttmann.

KDLT has been following the trial closely in the courtroom.

The closing arguments cleared up some questions. For example, the trial has covered details about the status of Jamie and Jon Puttmann’s marriage at the time of his death. On Tuesday, the prosecution confirmed that “we know that Jamie Puttmann was still married to Jon on the night he was killed.”

The prosecution spoke to the jury first, calling Wittenberg’s actions “certainly reckless.” They highlighted their evidence and shared more details of Wittenberg and Jamie Puttmann’s on-and-off relationship, which began in May 2016. The prosecution said that Jamie kept her miscarriage a secret from Wittenberg.  

The prosecution accused Wittenberg of changing his testimony since his initial interview with police. For example, the prosecution says that Wittenberg testified initially that Jamie was not in the middle of the two men during the struggle, but Jamie testified that she was, in fact, between the two men, with her hand on Jon’s chest. 

“He [Wittenberg] never told Detective Phillips that he was afraid for his life,” said the prosecution. “He [Jon] was unarmed the entire time.”

The prosecution also said that Jon Puttmann was backed up against a car during the altercation and “had nowhere to go.”

“The defendant took active steps to shoot Jon when he was most vulnerable,” said the prosecution. “These statements are more than self-serving. The force used was not reasonable and it was excessive.”

Wittenberg’s attorneys are claiming self-defense. The prosecution pointed out Wittenberg’s lack of injuries. 

“This was not self-defense,” said the prosecution. 

The prosecution also shared that Jon had .05 blood-alcohol level the night of the shooting.

Then, the defense pled their case to the jury for one last time. The defense says Wittenberg acted in self-defense against Jon, the estranged husband of Wittenberg’s on-and-off girlfriend, Jamie.

“It wasn’t just a threat,” said the defense. “It was a promise to do something serious to Alex. Jon was making sure everyone knew that he was in control.”

The defense said that Wittenberg, who was 23-years-old at the time, was not prepared for how his life would change when he moved from Tennessee to Dell Rapids in January 2016. He met Jamie in that March.

“This was an immature, naive young man who got himself caught up in a relationship with a woman who was 15 years older than him,” said the defense. “She lured him in under the belief she was carrying his child.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the jury is deliberating. KDLT is continuing to follow the case and will provide updates.

 

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