UPDATE: Murder Trial Begins For Alleged Christmas Day Killer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Murder Trial Begins For Alleged Christmas Day Killer; Victim's Father Escorted Out Of Courtroom

Posted: Updated:

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.

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Riverside community struggling to recover after severe wind storm

    Riverside community struggling to recover after severe wind storm

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:22 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:22:17 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - The severe windstorm which blew through the inland northwest on Wednesday, July 23rd with some wind gusts reaching 60 miles per hour, caused mass destruction and the largest power outage since the ice storm of 1996. Dozens of trees snapped or completely uprooted onto homes, cars and property in Spokane and surrounding areas, however, one community north of Spokane was really hit the hardest.More >>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - The severe windstorm which blew through the inland northwest on Wednesday, July 23rd with some wind gusts reaching 60 miles per hour, caused mass destruction and the largest power outage since the ice storm of 1996. Dozens of trees snapped or completely uprooted onto homes, cars and property in Spokane and surrounding areas, however, one community north of Spokane was really hit the hardest.More >>
  • Search warrant executed for animal cruelty investigation

    Search warrant executed for animal cruelty investigation

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:02:42 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A search warrant was executed on Wednesday at 23239 S. Cross Road, Cheney, WA as part of an ongoing investigation of animal cruelty and neglect.SCRAPS received a complaint during the recent Watermelon Hill Fire regarding five horses that were temporarily evacuated to the Cheney Rodeo Grounds.More >>
    KHQ.COM - A search warrant was executed on Wednesday at 23239 S. Cross Road, Cheney, WA as part of an ongoing investigation of animal cruelty and neglect.SCRAPS received a complaint during the recent Watermelon Hill Fire regarding five horses that were temporarily evacuated to the Cheney Rodeo Grounds.
    More >>
  • Mountain lion attacks horse near Deer Lake

    Mountain lion attacks horse near Deer Lake

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:59 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:59:23 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking for mountain lion that attacked a horse near Deer Lake Tuesday night.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking for mountain lion that attacked a horse near Deer Lake Tuesday night.The attack happened near Camp Gifford and was severe enough that the horse had to be put down. Officials say this is the only cougar attack in the area. On Wednesday, officials were using a hound to track the cougar, however because of the hot and dry conditions, picking up a scent was difficult.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.