Murder Trial Begins For Alleged Christmas Day Killer; Victim's Father Escorted Out Of Courtroom
by Dylan Wohlenhaus, KHQ Local News Reporter - email
COEUR d' ALENE, Idaho - Opening statements began early Wednesday in the trial of Joseph Herrera. Herrera is accused of shooting and killing his then girlfriend 18-year-old Stefanie Comack. It happened Christmas morning 2011 in St. Maries Idaho. Joseph Herrera is on trial facing 2nd degree murder charges.
In opening statements Herrera's defense attorney argued that this is not a murder case rather it's an involuntary manslaughter case at best. He says Herrera admits to shooting Comack but it was an accident and not intentional. His attorney says that during an argument Herrera put what he believed to be an unloaded gun to his own head. When Comack tried to grab it away that's when the gun went off.
During opening statements Wednesday the jury was shown a chest camera video taken by a first responding deputy. In the video you can hear family members screaming "Oh my god, oh my god! Stefanie was shot!" Jim Comack, Stefanie's father, was in the courtroom watching the video when he began yelling profanities. As he stood up several armed deputies had to forcefully escort him out of the courtroom.
Because of the outburst the jury also had to leave the courtroom and the trial had to take a short break. Judge Fred Gibler ruled that Jim Comack could no longer be present in the courtroom during the trial.
The trial was recently moved to Kootenai County. Of a jury pool of about 100 people in St. Maries Idaho the prosecution and the defense could not seat a jury in Benewah County because it was a "high profile"case.
Monday, December 9 2013 11:41 PM EST2013-12-10 04:41:07 GMT
Spokane Police say they are investigating a shooting that happened just after 6:00pm in downtown Spokane Monday night. More >>
Spokane Police say they are investigating a shooting that happened just after 6:00pm in downtown Spokane Monday night. Officers say when they arrived there was no one in the parking lot just east of Red Lion BBQ in the 700 block of N. Division, however they did find evidence showing that at least two shots from a shotgun had been fired.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:50 PM EST2013-12-10 03:50:54 GMT
Winter on Lake Coeur d'Alene means many things. People come from all over to see the lights illuminate the lake near the resort. More >>
Winter on Lake Coeur d'Alene means many things. People come from all over to see the lights illuminate the lake near the resort. But they also come for nature. And in the winter, that means Bald Eagles taking advantage of all of the fish. KHQ Local News Reporter Gabe Cohen tagged along with some eagle enthusiasts Monday morning.More >>
Monday night the Spokane City Council voted 6-0 to keep parking meters free in downtown Spokane during holidays. The council was considering limiting free parking days by removing certain holidays, such as Martin Luther King Day and Veterans Day, but voted against it.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:49 PM EST2013-12-10 02:49:42 GMT
It may be the most wonderful time of the year as the holidays draw near, but there's nothing wonderful about this weather for many families across the Inland Northwest.More >>
It may be the most wonderful time of the year as the holidays draw near, but there's nothing wonderful about this weather for many families across the Inland Northwest who are dealing with frozen or burst pipes. The owner of First Response Plumbing told KHQ's Kelsey Watts on a normal day they have 3-6 scheduled appointments. But Monday? They responded to 14 calls. And on Saturday? They got 80.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:10 PM EST2013-12-10 02:10:20 GMT
In a press release issued Monday evening, the Salvation Army says the mystery Gold Coin donor has once again dropped off the annual donation in a bell ringer's kettle.More >>
In a press release issued Monday evening, the Salvation Army says the mystery Gold Coin donor has once again dropped off the annual donation in a bell ringer's kettle. The Salvation Army says the donor wrapped the one ounce South African Krugerrand in a crisp $100 bill and dropped it in a bell ringer's kettle at the Fred Meyer Wandermere. As of Monday night, an ounce of gold is going for about $1,238 an ounce.More >>
UPDATE: A judge sentenced former Shadle Park teacher Ryan Murphy to 90 days of work release and restitution to the victim. Murphy must also relinquish his teaching license. On Monday Murphy struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to 3rd Degree Assault in a Non-Sexual Manner.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 6:58 PM EST2013-12-09 23:58:22 GMT
After considering all of the information presented, the appeals board upheld the original ruling by the University.More >>
After considering all of the information presented, the appeals board upheld the original ruling by the University Disciplinary Board that puts students Dan McIntosh and Erik Fagan on indefinite probation for a weapons policy violation.More >>
A sign posted to the front door Monday morning said it loud and clear: "Adams is closed." Frozen pipes led the fire suppression system to fail, causing the sprinklers to go off. Damages to the ceiling tiles, carpets and classroom materials totaled thousands of dollars spread across five classrooms at Adams Elementary in the Central Valley School District.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 5:44 PM EST2013-12-09 22:44:11 GMT
KHQ.COM - Federal officials have filed five criminal cases against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.More >>
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Federal officials have filed five criminal cases against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation's largest jail system.More >>