Estherville, Iowa — After about ten and a half hours of deliberation, an Emmet County jury has found an Estherville teen guilty of 2nd Degree Murder in the June, 2015 death of a second Estherville teen.
The jury in the trial of 19-year old Lee Christensen began their deliberations at mid-day on Thursday. After deliberating all afternoon Thursday, the judge in the case sent them home for the night around 7:00 pm. Deliberations resumed at 9:00 am Friday, and by lunch time no verdict had been reached. Following the lunch break, it took less than an hour for the jury to indicate that they had reached a decision in the case.
Christensen was being tried for the murder of 19-year old Thomas Bortvit of Estherville. Bortvit’s family reported him missing on June 6th of last year, and Estherville authorities, along with the help of volunteers, searched the southern portion of Estherville. Police and Emmet County Sheriff’s officers located Bortvit’s body late the next afternoon, and immediately launched an investigation into his disappearance and death.
Following an investigation that involved the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office, Estherville Police Department, and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, authorities charged Christensen with Bortvit’s murder.
Christensen was arrested in Miinesota, and held at the Hennepin County Jail prior to his extradition back to Emmet County.
Prosecutors said Christensen lured Bortvit to the Christensen family farm, where the teen was shot to death.
Christensen’s sentencing on the 2nd Degree Murder Charge has been set for 9:30 am on Friday, September 16th, in Emmet County District Court at Estherville. 2nd Degree Murder is a Class B Felony, and is punishable by up to 50 years in prison.
KTIV Television contributed to this story