August 25, 2017 07:19 PM
Nobody tells Joe, "No." That was the argument prosecution made repeatedly in front of a full courtroom Friday morning in the murder case against Joseph Thoresen.
Itasca County prosecutor Todd Webb said that is why witnesses were reluctant to come forward right away.
Thoresen was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of 20-year-old David Haiman of Hibbing. The trial had been going on all week in Grand Rapids. He was sentenced to life without parole.
Webb questioned why Haiman would have gotten in the backseat of his own car after Thoresen and his girlfriend, Kayleene Greniger, had already beat him up. Webb said, "Nobody tells Joe, 'no.'"
They were all using meth at the time of the crime, but Webb said that is no excuse and doesn't change what happened.
Webb said the three stopped several times before Thoresen and Greniger killed Haiman. On one stop, Thoresen allegedly asked a witness who testified what he would use to put down a farm animal.
"What does that mean to you?" Webb asked the jury.
According to prosecution, Thoresen dealt two blows to Haiman's head with a baseball bat, which was allegedly later burned.
Neither the trauma to the head nor the dozen stab wounds were the cause of death, however. The medical examiner told the court he determined the cause of death to be the beheading.
Prosecution wrapped up its closing argument by playing a phone call. In it, Thoresen tells a friend, "Dude, I lost it. That's what it really amounts to. I finally (expletive) popped."
Webb said to the jury, "You tell Joe no."
In closing arguments by the defense, Steve Bergeson said the prosecution did not present evidence to show Thoresen had a role in the killing.
Greniger, took the witness stand earlier this week, testifying that it was Thoresen's plan to kill Haiman. Her testimony came as part of a plea agreement.
The defense challenged Greniger's credibility during closing arguments, saying her story changed throughout the process. They had also said she was testifying only to get a better prison sentence.
At one point, Bergeson went over to the witness stand, sat down and slowly clapped. He said Greniger had given an "Oscar-worthy performance" in her testimony.
Bergeson said Greniger's shock was "self-serving" and that her memory was selective. He said she is a "conniving, cold-blooded killer."
He told the jury when the three of them finally stopped on the remote forestry road where Haiman was killed, "The car was steaming. Kayleene Greniger was steaming too."
According to Bergeson, Greniger conned the people around her, police and prosecution. He left the jury with, "Don't let her con you too."
The courtroom was full during closing arguments, as family and friends from all sides sat and listened.
The prosecution and defense each took about 40 minutes for their arguments.
Updated: August 25, 2017 07:19 PM
Created: August 25, 2017 12:57 PM
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