Jury approved to visit scene of homicide case

Published 10:35 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

Defendant gets permission to leave state to visit father, file taxes

Jurors will be able to visit the scene of a fatal shooting this spring at Myre-Big Island State Park during the trial of a Brownsdale man charged with second-degree murder.

David Easter

David Easter

David Michael Easter, 26, is charged in the Aug. 23 shooting death of Spencer Daniel Brown, 23, of rural Freeborn County. Brown was found dead that evening in a locked 2001 Audi station wagon in a parking lot near the Big Island pavilion.

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Freeborn County District Court Judge Steven Schwab on Monday approved a request from Easter’s lawyer for a first-hand look at the scene because there is a lack of photo and video evidence of the area where Brown was killed. She said previously that by visiting the scene, the jury would be able to contextualize what took place the night of Brown’s death.

Freeborn County Attorney David Walker previously argued he did not see how visiting the crime scene would help resolve a material factual issue. He claimed because of differing seasons, daylight and lack of other vehicles at the scene during the shooting, the visit would not be helpful.

In court Wednesday, Schwab also approved Easter’s request to leave the state to return to Nebraska — where he was living before moving to Minnesota — to work on his taxes and see his father in the hospital. Easter was required to provide a DNA sample. He is allowed to be in Nebraska from today through next Tuesday.

The jury trial is scheduled to begin March 28.

Easter is arguing self-defense and claimed Brown approached him with what appeared to be a bat.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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