Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
In the second day of the proceedings trying James Main Jr. For murder, a witness testified that after he witnessed an assault on the victim, he heard the two men who were charged with homicide talking about killing the man. Joseph Red Elk of Havre, 17, was in Melissa “Missy” Snow’s residence the night Lloyd Kvelstad was beaten, had a sweatshirt drawstring tied around his neck and subsequently died. Red Elk testified that after an initial assault on Kvelstad had quieted down, he heard Main talking about trying to kill the man. Kim A. Norquay Jr. “butted in,” Red Elk testified, talking about ways to kill Kvelstad. “I have no idea why” they were talking about killing the man, Red Elk said in answer to a question from prosecuting attorney Dan Guzynski. Kvelstad was found dead in Snow’s apartment in the early morning of Nov. 25, 2006, severely beaten and with the drawstring tied tightly around his neck. Main, who a witness testified tried to flee after it was announced police were on the way, was charged with deliberate homicide Dec. 8, 2006. Norquay, who was charged with homicide in the incident on July 6, 2007, was convicted following a trial in November 2008. He is scheduled for Sentencing on March 16. Snow, who pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence for cleaning up blood in her apartment following the assault, has been sentenced to three years with the state Department of Corrections with one year suspended. The prosecution said in its opening statements that evidence would show that of all the people at the scene, Main, Norquay and Snow, and no one else, had Kvelstad’s blood on their clothing. Red Elk testified that, after he arrived at the Snow residence with his friend Jason Skidmore, who was 23 at the time Red Elk was 15 he soon heard Main start to argue with Kvelstad. Kvel s tad was the onl y Caucasian at the party at Snow’s house, which started t h e n i g h t a f t e r t h e Thanksgiving holiday. The rest, including Main, Norquay, Snow, Skidmore and Red Elk, are native American. The argument started about the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, the Thanksgiving Holiday, the American Indian Movement and the fact that Kvelstad kept speaking in Native American languages, Red Elk said. Af t e r s h a d ow b ox i n g Kvelstad and slapping him, Main put his arm around Kvelstad’s neck and choked him until he blacked out, Red Elk said. When Kvel s tad awoke, he seemed disoriented, Red Elk said, then Main choked him until he blacked out again. After Kvelstad awoke, Skidmore choked him until he blacked out, then Main choked him until he blacked out a fourth time after he awoke once more, Red Elk testified. At that point, Norquay had pulled his own pants down and was t rying to pul l down Kvelstad’s pants, saying he was going to rape Kvelstad, Red Elk testified. At that point, Skidmore stopped Norquay, telling him to “knock it off,” and things calmed down, Red Elk said. Red Elk said that after the fourth choking, Kvelstad was highly disoriented, barely able to walk. It was at that point, while the group was sitting in the kitchen and Kvelstad was in another room, that Red Elk heard Main and Norquay talking about killing Kvelstad, Red Elk said. During cross examination by defense attorney Kenneth Olson, Red Elk admitted that he told a different story to people than what he had testified to Tuesday and had previously told three investigating officers. Red Elk said that he had described a much more violent assault, which could have led to blood being spilled. He said, however, that his testimony Tuesday was the accurate description and he did not recall any of the people fighting to be bleeding at that time. A short time later, after things had completely calmed down, a friend of Skidmore and Red Elk stopped by and the three decided to go visit another friend, Red Elk testified. They went to a Havre hotel where the friend worked and “hung out” and drank, he said. Sarah Rice, who was at the hotel when Skidmore and Red Elk arrived, testified that the group stayed there most of the night, leaving for a short time to buy some beer and drop Skidmore off at a house to pick up some alcohol about 12:30 a. m. Nov. 25, 2006, and again leaving for about an hour at about 3:30 a.m. Under cross examination by Olson, where he had Rice describe the location of the residence where Skidmore went in for five or 10 minutes, she admitted that it was possible the house he entered was Missy Snow’s residence, which is approximately at the location she described. Under questioning by Guzynski, Rice said that while she had been to Snow’s house on previous occasions, it hadn’t crossed her mind that that could have been the house Skidmore entered. “It’s a possibility,” Rice testified. “I can’t say for sure.” The trial, scheduled to last as long as two weeks, continues today.