Defense attorneys on Thursday will begin to call witnesses as the Nicholas Firkus murder trial moves into its ninth day in Ramsey County District Court.
Firkus, 39, stands accused of fatally shooting his wife, Heidi, in their St. Paul home 13 years ago. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree murder with intent in connection with her death on April 25, 2010.
Prosecutors on Wednesday called their final witness, St. Paul Sgt. Nichole Sipes, who took over the case in 2019 after it had sat quiet for nearly a decade.
"I thought the case should be brought to fruition, that he either be charged or the case closed permanently," she said.
Prosecutors also showed the jury a string of emails between Firkus and his wife in the months leading up to her death. Prosecutors have contended that the couple's financial problems and pending eviction drove Firkus to kill her.
The emails supported the prosecution's theory that Heidi Firkus was unaware of the couple's plight, but had expressed worry when she started receiving calls from creditors.
"It just scares me that I got that call and it has to be messing up our credit at this point and it needs to be fixed," she wrote in an email.
"Three calls already this morning," she wrote in another email, to which Firkus replied, "I'll take care of it today."
Defense attorneys claim Heidi Firkus was aware of the couple's financial difficulties and that an intruder broke into their home at about 6:30 a.m. on the day of her death. Attorneys say Firkus struggled with the burglar and that a shotgun he had in his hand went off twice. The first shot hit Heidi Firkus in the back, killing her. The second struck Firkus in the leg before the intruder ran off.
Earlier in the day in the standing-room-only courtroom, Suzanne Brown with the FBI's Minneapolis office testified that her agency's evidence response team used photographs, autopsy reports, police interviews and 911 transcripts and a laser scan of the crime scene conducted in 2020 to "accurately document" the scene and model what could have happened inside the residence in the 1700 block of W. Minnehaha Avenue.
The images drew pushback from defense lawyers, who in cross examination wondered if the FBI took Firkus' account into consideration.
"Police came to you with a theory, and then you went through material to create a model," said defense lawyer Joe Friedberg. "Were you unable or unwilling to do that with what the defendant said?"
Brown responded. "When we produce a model, it is using verified evidence."
Court will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.