Christensen Murder Trial Delayed

December 18, 2015

Trial for an Estherville man accused in the shooting death of 19-year-old Thomas Bortvit of Estherville has been delayed.

Lee Christensen is now scheduled to go on trial June 21st, 2016, in Emmet County District Court. Christensen was charged with first degree murder in Bortvit’s death on June seventh. Bortvit’s body was found a couple days later near some buildings about two miles northeast of Estherville.

Prosecutors have expressed concern over a potential conflict of interest regarding the attorney representing both Christensen and members of his family. Court documents filed by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office say Christensen’s parents and sister are critical witnesses for the state and may be expected to testify at the trial, saying they have information on Christensen’s whereabouts, behavior and demeanor on the day of the crime. They are also expected to testify regarding certain incriminating statements made to them by Christensen.

Judge David Lester also set February 15th as the deadline to consider any request to move the trial out of Emmet County.

(Story from KUOO/KUQQ, Spirit Lake)