Opening statements delivered, witness testimony begins in Pendleton trial

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KVRR) – Opening statements are given and witness testimony begins in the trial of the man accused of killing his mother and Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte.

In the prosecution’s opening arguments, prosecutor Carmell Mattison emphasized the state’s reliance on photos and videos as evidence in the trial of 42-year-old Salamah Pendleton.

That was made clear as witness testimony began. Multiple clips of detailed and graphic body camera footage from the scene were shown to the jury.

“Many rounds, you can tell there were a lot of different weapons firing up there,” said Grand Forks Sheriff’s Dep. Blake Buchmeier. He is one of three witnesses the state brought forth Thursday, including a Grand Forks Police Officer and the owner of the apartment building at which the shooting took place; all of whom described in great detail what they saw on May 27th, 2020.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Steve Mottinger emphasized the jury’s role in providing Pendleton a fair trial.

“Promise me — you took that oath, you promised the court when you took that oath, to give this man a fair trial,” said Mottinger.

He adds Pendleton won’t deny he fired a rifle, but that perspective and sequence of events are important for jurors to remember.

Mottinger also revealed that Pendleton will be taking the stand.

“He’s got a story to tell. He wants to tell it. And, we’re looking forward to you hearing it,” he added.

Pendleton faces two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder as well as criminal mischief, terrorizing, reckless endangerment and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture marijuana.

Court administration tells KVRR they could not stream the lawyers presenting opening arguments without broadcasting the faces of the jurors which is why we could not see them while they were delivering their statements.

Categories: Crime, Local News, North Dakota News