By Joe Bachman
For a recap of yesterday’s court proceedings, check out Kusters Homicide Trial Begins Today, Opening Statements
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Day two of the murder trial for 59-year-old Mark Kusters got underway today.
The state called their final witnesses and closed their case by the afternoon, setting up the defense to respond. In the evidence presented, the state put forward various experts from the state crime lab in Wausau that touched upon everything from DNA analysis, examination of the model 835 Mossberg shotgun used in the shooting, and the blood alcohol levels of both the defendant and victim at the time of the shooting.
The consensus of most experts concluded that the fatal shot that ended the life of 42-year-old Richard Flynn came from 45-50 feet away from the front porch of the Kusters’ residence, however, the ultimate question wasn’t if Mark Kusters fired the gun, but how, and for what reasons.
According to Grand Rapids police officer Tammy Kubisiak, authorities would find Richard Flynn’s number in Mark Kusters’ phone with the contact name of “DEADBOY”. Kusters testified that while he did indeed have Flynn’s number in his phone, he does not know how the nickname was put there, and claimed that his wife Trina Kusters, who had a one-night-stand with Flynn weeks prior, would sometimes play with his phone.
Kusters, a former marine, testified that Flynn repeatedly called the house in the weeks leading up to the incident, though he allegedly did not care if his wife left him, as he had prepared divorce papers days prior to the shooting. What the jury will have to decide on is the specific circumstances surrounding the shooting, both of which are told in different ways through the defense and prosecution.
According to Kusters and the defense, on the night of the shooting, his wife informed him that an intoxicated Flynn was at the door and peeking through the windows. Also intoxicated, Mark Kusters grabbed a loaded shotgun, walked out of the residence and told Flynn to get off of his property. He then told jurors that his wife Trina attempted to pull him back by his collar, thereby scratching the side of his forehead in the process, causing Kusters to fall backwards, only to accidentally fire his shotgun — a shot that would land in the center mass of Flynn’s body.
However, not only did Trina Kusters testify yesterday that she never put her hands on the gun, but District Attorney Craig Lambert found it hard to believe that Mark Kusters, who claimed to have his shotgun pointed down when confronting Flynn, was so easily jarred into firing his weapon.
“You’re a marine; you let your wife grab you, and you could not control your weapon?” said Lambert to Kusters as he was on the stand.
According to police reports, Kusters stated after the shooting that “That was it, I’m sorry; but that’s my property.” Kusters also went on to say in a recording taken shortly after in the deputy’s vehicle. “You’re f—ing right I shot his ass.”
Tomorrow will conclude the trial with closing statements, along with jury deliberation and a verdict.