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Second day of trial

A jury hears details of Crystal Esch’s death
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Investigators are among those giving testimony at the trial for the murder of a Broken Bow woman in Custer County District Court. During testimony and first-day questioning, the murder weapon was checked in as evidence in District Judge Karen Noakes’ courtroom.

Investigators say 10 shell casings from the .22 caliber handgun admitted into evidence were taken from the scene where Crystal Esch’s body was recovered after being shot several times in her face, neck, and torso in July 2020. Testifying to the details of the crime scene and the arrest were Custer County Chief Deputy Adam Miller, and Nebraska State Patrol investigators Jeff Van Stelton and Dion Neumiller.

Murder weapon entered as evidence
Murder weapon entered as evidence(Melanie Standiford)

The jury and a half-filled courtroom saw pictures of the suspect’s home where he went after reportedly shooting and killing his stepmom. Drone pictures of Trenton Esch’s property explained visually where he was when law enforcement arrived to arrest him. The pictures also revealed various weapons (some covered in cobwebs) around the property and a large collection of empty alcohol bottles and prescription medicine. The jury also heard from both the prosecution and defense that Trenton Esch came out of one of the outbuildings at his Broken Bow property without incident to be arrested.

During opening statements, Trenton Esch’s attorney, James M. Davis of Omaha, explained that Trenton Esch would eventually take the stand and that he would not deny shooting his stepmom. He and Davis would, however, deny that the tragic death of Crystal Esch was premeditated. They would not deny using a weapon to commit the crime or that he was a prohibited person with a firearm in his possession.

Murder weapon in Esch's pickup.
Murder weapon in Esch's pickup.(Melanie Standiford)

Two of Crystal Esch’s grandchildren are reported to have been present during the shooting. They took the witness stand Wednesday.

The trial continues with more witnesses on Thursday.

Trenton Esch in court with his attorney James M. Davis of Omaha.
Trenton Esch in court with his attorney James M. Davis of Omaha.(Melanie Standiford)

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