Opening Arguments, Witnesses Start Day 2 of Tower Infant Death Trial

Taylor Holt
Updated: September 12, 2018 07:31 PM

Opening arguments began in the jury trial of Jesse Bonnaci- Koski, the Hibbing man who allegedly left his infant nephew home alone before the child died in a fire.

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In the more than five hour long court day, attorneys on both sides laid out the actions of Bonnaci-Koski on August 2nd, 2017 and presented evidence to the 13-person jury who will decide his fate.

On the day in question, Bonnachi-Koski allegedly left his 11-month old nephew Bentley home alone for two hours. In court, it was revealed he told law enforcement he went out to use WiFi since the house didn't have any and then went to buy drugs.

After returning, he saw the house was on fire and left. Then, allegedly stole a car and was arrested in the Pike Township area.

In opening arguments, Bonnachi-Koski's attorney said he is not guilty of manslaughter, and that he did not intend for something bad to happen that day, but said that he is not denying the other mistakes he made.

On the other hand, the attorney for the State of Minnesota said that Bonnachi-Koski had "choices and opportunities" to be made that day, but only thought of himself and that Bentley was dependent on his uncle.

Jurors heard from nine witnesses including an emotional testimony from Bentley's mom, Krista Joan Swanson, and a responding firefighter who found Bentley in the home unresponsive and "covered in soot" about 45 minutes into firefighting operations.

They also saw evidence including pictures of the house before and after the fire, and heard audio of the 911 call.

Several first responders who testified said if they would have known a child was in the house at the time of the fire, their tactics would have been different.

In Swanson's testimony, she said Bentley would have been one on August 30th and that he was always smiling. She also said Jesse watched Bentley often and that she trusted him.

Although, no cause for the fire has been found. The Minnesota State Fire Marshall Office investigation revealed there was no evidence that Jesse started the fire or contributed to the cause.

Witness testimonies will continue into Thursday, followed by closing arguments and deliberation potentially Thursday or Friday.


Taylor Holt

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