Jury selection will begin Friday in the trial of a Hutchinson, Minn., man charged with killing and kidnapping a 25-year-old Annandale man whose fragmentary remains were found nearly two months after the two fought outside a Howard Lake bar.
Robert Otis Nuttall, 29, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Christopher Rossing. Rossing, Nuttall and his girlfriend, Gwen Butcher, were fighting outside a bar before Rossing disappeared, authorities say.
Rossing had been missing and the subject of several searches before human remains, including teeth and bone fragments, were found in October 2014 at the couple's Hutchinson home and in a nearby cornfield.
In March, Nuttall was indicted on first-degree murder charges by a Wright County grand jury. He had been charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in September 2014.
Butcher, 34, was charged with aiding an offender after the fact. Her trial is scheduled for January.
At the time of Nuttall's and Butcher's September 2014 arrest, prosecutor Brian Lutes said that "the circumstances of this case permitted us to charge the kidnapping" without having yet located Rossing.
According to the charges against both defendants, Rossing and Nuttall were at the American Legion in Howard Lake in August 2014 and flirting with the same woman. Butcher arrived and was irritated that Nuttall had been paying attention to another woman and spending money.
Nuttall left with Butcher, and Rossing went to Troubles Bar, about three blocks away. Nuttall and Butcher later showed up there and the trio fought after leaving the bar.
Nuttall and Butcher then drove home with Rossing in their SUV, and Butcher told police that Nuttall said he drove Rossing to Howard Lake.
According to the complaint, a search of the SUV showed it appeared "efforts had been made to clean the interior of the vehicle."
Rossing's car was found in Howard Lake four days after he disappeared. It was parked in a lot with the keys in the ignition and the windows down.
Investigators searched the Hutchinson home of Nuttall and Butcher after a private citizen found "suspicious items," according to the Wright County Sheriff's Office. Human remains were recovered from a fire pit and from a cornfield across the street.
The jury trial is expected to take several weeks.