HUDSON — The second trial for a man accused of killing his son at a New Richmond home got underway Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court, where jurors heard stark testimony from the victim’s sister.
Somer Johnson-Fleischauer testified Feb. 24 that she was alarmed by a loud noise she heard in the early morning hours of April 14, 2018, at her father’s house. She hurried upstairs to find her brother’s lifeless body, the victim of a gunshot wound to the head.
Who caused the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Chase Fleischauer will be the focus of the trial, scheduled to last the next two weeks. The victim’s father, 44-year-old Kayle A. Fleischauer, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in the case.
The trial is the second time St. Croix County jurors will hear the case. Fleischauer, a White Bear Lake, Minn., resident who lived in New Richmond at the time of the incident, was convicted in 2019 of the offense. The verdict was thrown out and a retrial was ordered after St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham learned a juror had attempted an experiment related to the case and shared her information with other jurors.
The first day appeared to set the stage for a repeat of the first trial.
Prosecution, led by Assistant Attorney General Robert Kaiser Jr., told the jury how Fleischauer’s two children went to his former New Richmond home on the night of the shooting to assist him in plans following their grandfather’s death.
“One of them left their father’s home alive,” Kaiser said.
He argued Kayle Fleischauer shot Chase Fleischauer. Kaiser told the jury there was some kind of struggle that preceded the shooting that left the younger Fleischauer with his own blood on his socks.
Defense attorney Earl Gray renewed his argument that Chase Fleischauer shot himself accidentally. He described how jurors will see evidence from a test with a robot that, after firing a shot, released the gun 10 feet from it.
The gun’s distance from the victim’s body was a central question in the first trial: Would the gun have been that far from the victim if he’d shot himself, or was it left by Kayle after the shooting?
Gray said an expert will demonstrate that the recoil from a self-inflicted gunshot can launch the gun about 10 feet.
The trial is scheduled to last until March 6.