Murder Suspect Takes The Stand

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Alex Wittenberg took the stand on Monday. The then-23-year-old Dell Rapids man is on trial for second degree murder and manslaughter for a November 2016 shooting, but his lawyers are claiming self-defense. KDLT was in the courtroom and has been following the trial at the Minnehaha Courthouse.

Wittenberg remembers when he moved from Tennessee to Dell Rapids in 2016. He was looking to be closer to his sister and find job opportunities. He began a relationship with Jamie Puttmann. Wittenberg talked about how they first met when he took the stand on Monday.

“I liked her personality,” said Wittenberg. “We had quite a few common interests. She’s very caring.”

You can read more about Wittenberg and Jamie’s on-and-off relationship here.

Jamie was in the process of divorcing her husband of nearly ten years, Jon Puttmann. Over the course of the trial, there’s been evidence and testimony that Jon threatened his wife’s new boyfriend.

Wittenberg says that’s why he bought a 9 millimeter handgun in June 2016.

Then, Wittenberg described the night he used that gun. He says drove Jamie and her kids to Jon’s house, Jon started punching him and he felt a need to defend himself.

“I was a sitting duck and it would’ve been a lot worse,” said Wittenberg.

Wittenberg said it did get worse.

“I just wanted him to stop,” said Wittenberg. “I just didn’t know what was going on. It was happening so fast.”

Wittenberg testified that he shot Jon, allegedly aiming toward his shoulder. Instead, Wittenberg shot Jon in the head.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Wittenberg. “I thought I missed.”

Later that night, a sergeant told Wittenberg that jon had died. In court today, Wittenberg described his reaction and his remorse for Jon and Jamie’s two children.

“I was devastated honestly,” said Wittenberg. “I didn’t want Harrison and Addison to grow up without a parent. I lost both my parents when I was younger and I never wanted anybody to go through that.”

The prosecution asked Wittenberg several tough questions — even pointing out that Wittenberg didn’t have to be at the custody swap, since none of the children are his.

Wittenberg agreed.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday in downtown Sioux Falls.

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