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State rests in murder trial of 19-year-old Willmar man

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct one fact concerning Adam Milton in the Oct. 14 story on the Mile Edinburgh trial. Toxicology tests showed that Milton had consumed alcohol and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.041, which is below Minnesota's legal limit for driving under influence of 0.08. Tests for drugs came back negative.

WILLMAR -- The prosecution rested Tuesday in the trial of Miles Edinburgh, who is charged with murder for the stabbing death of Adam Milton. Edinburgh, 19, of Willmar, faces a single second-degree murder charge for the July 20, 2008, death of Milton, 21, who was a Ridgewater College football player.

The trial, in Kandiyohi County District Court, continues today.

A jury was seated late last week, and opening arguments conducted.

District Judge Jon Stafsholt is presiding over the trial, scheduled through Thursday.

While defense witnesses began testifying late Tuesday afternoon, Edinburgh's attorneys have not said if he will take the witness stand.

Joseph Parise, an assistant state public defender, and Eighth District Public Defender Jay Liedman, are representing Edinburgh. First Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Connie Crowell is prosecuting the case.

Dr. Richard Wehseler testified resuscitation efforts by Rice Memorial Hospital staff ceased at 1:44 a.m. That was about one hour after police and medical responders were called to the Evergreen Ridge apartment complex, along the 1300 block of 24th Avenue Northwest, in response to a stabbing call.

Dr. Kelly Mills, assistant Ramsey County medical examiner, testified that, after performing an autopsy on Milton's body, she determined his death to have been caused by multiple stab wounds and deemed it a homicide.

Milton had two stab wounds to his chest, Mills explained as Crowell displayed photos of the autopsy to the 14-member jury panel. The first wound, in the left chest, went through the skin, the soft issue, through the fifth intercostal space and nearly severed the sixth rib before proceeding into the lung, through the pericardial sac and into the left ventricle of the heart.

The wound was 4¾ inches deep, Mills testified, and the knife located near the scene of the stabbing was consistent with the injuries found on Milton's body.

The second wound was 3¼ inches deep and did not penetrate into the internal organs. Mills opined that Milton could have survived the second, shallower stab wound.

Milton also had a skin-deep knife wound in his left armpit and a knife wound on the middle finger of his left hand.

Toxicology tests showed that Milton had consumed alcohol and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.041. The legal limit for driving under influence is 0.08. Tests for drugs came back negative.

Anne Ciecko, forensic scientist for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified regarding blood samples taken from the hooded sweatshirt and jeans Edinburgh was wearing when he was apprehended. The DNA of three samples, two from the shirt's sleeve and hood and one from the front pocket area of the jeans, matched Milton's DNA, she said.

Albert Navarro, 17, of Willmar, testified for the defense on Tuesday that he, Edinburgh and three other young people were dropped off at the apartment complex, that they knocked at the door of an apartment and were turned away by Milton and several others who had testified Monday.

After admitting that he was high on marijuana, Navarro said he saw Edinburgh, Milton, and LW Rashawn Frost arguing. "I saw Miles get punched in the face," Navarro said. Parise asked who hit him, and the young man responded, "He was tall and black and pretty huge."

Navarro also testified that he didn't jump into the fight because he didn't want to kill his buzz and that he ran away into a cornfield after the incident.

Willmar Police Officer Frank Hanson and Detective Chad Nelson, who had testified Monday, were recalled to the witness stand Tuesday and asked about reports they made from interviews with witnesses soon after the incident.

Hanson testified that Frost said he hit Edinburgh during the incident. Frost said Monday while testifying that he swung and missed when attempting to hit the younger man.

Similarly, Nelson, after reviewing his report from an interview with Walter Rochet, a fellow Ridgewater football player at the time, stated that Rochet told him that Milton threw Edinburgh to the ground during the altercation. Rochet had testified Monday that he couldn't recall if Milton had pushed Edinburgh.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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