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Opening Arguments in Angelina O’Mara Trial Today

Benton County Jail photo

FOLEY — The murder trial of Angelina O’Mara got underway in Benton County District Court today with opening arguments. The 39-year-old is charged with first and second degree murder in the death of her ex-husband James O’Mara.

O’Mara sat expressionless in a dark gray sweater as the Benton County Attorney painted a picture of a cold-blooded killer who shot James O’Mara once in the head. Attorney Robert Raupp shared numerous contradictory statements O’Mara made to investigators. At first, she told police she didn’t know O’Mara and her boyfriend Michael Pies were dead and that they were both alive the last time she saw them. She later said the men knew each other, were jealous of each other and that the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang killed them. O’Mara also admitted later that she and Pies fought, the gun went off and killed him. Finally, she admitted to authorities while she was in custody in South Dakota that she had shot O’Mara in the head.

Defense lawyers painted a much different picture. They say it’s a complicated case with complicated relationships. At issue is not what the facts are, but what those facts mean. They say O’Mara was in a love triangle with two men who were abusive and alcoholics. They say she sought the attention of men, even craved it.

Witness testimony Wednesday centered on the two Sauk Rapids Police officers who were first to respond to the apartment where James O’Mara’s body was found. Both described how O’Mara’s body was found on the couch with two pillows covering his bloody face, with a gunshot wound through the bottom pillow.

They described the investigation which revealed surveillance video of James O’Mara the night before, using an ATM and buying cigarettes and pizza the night before he died.

Surveillance and ATM receipts also show O’Mara withdrew $500 from James O’Mara’s account. Police also found three unspent .22 caliber rifle shells in O’Mara’s SUV. No weapon was ever found.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

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