The jury in the 1st Degree Murder trial of 19-year old Lee Christensen got the case just after noon Thursday. Christensen is accused of killing 19-year old Thomas Bortvit of Estherville last year.
Bortvit’s family reported him missing on June 6th, 2015 and Estherville authorities, along with the help of volunteers, searched southern 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.
According to reports from KTIV television, court testimony indicated that Bortvit had been dating Christensen’s ex-girlfriend, and Christensen wanted to reignite a relationship with her, which, the prosecution said, was the motive for Bortvit’s killing.
KTIV reports that the defense suggested a fight had occurred between the two young men, ending with Bortvit being shot to death. The prosecution said that no evidence of a fight had been found on Christensen’s body when he was interviewed following Bortvit’s death, and that the killing was premeditated.
If convicted of 1st Degree Murder, Christensen faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.