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Jury selected, opening arguments begin today in Fond du Lac homicide case

Freeman trial
Posted at 8:54 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 12:59:19-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — In the case of Julius Freeman, a man charged in connection with an October 2021 murder, a jury was selected and the defense and prosecution attorneys debated several motions.

Freeman is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery with the use of force.

The judge dismissed a third charge of felon possession of a firearm.

According to the criminal complaint, Julius Freeman and Eric Perry are accused of shooting and killing Benzel Rose in October 2021 and stealing money and a gun from him.

Police say Rose took his girlfriend and her kids to Mcdonald's and pulled out a stack of cash.

That night, they were sleeping when Rose's girlfriend heard the gunshot and found Rose dead.

Police say they questioned Freeman's girlfriend, who told them Freeman told her, “It wasn't supposed to be that way."

The judge dismissed the felon possession of a firearm charge because that firearm was found almost two months after the homicide.

“The alleged date of facts for count three is not October 17, 2021, it's December 3, 2021,” defense attorney Jeffrey Jensen said. “So a month and a half, two months later.. so it is not part of the original transaction.”

The state disagreed.

“I don't believe or frankly see how it could be prejudicial to present evidence or charge the defendant of possession of a firearm when there is testimony that's going to be received that he was in possession of a firearm. A firearm was found later. The defendant is charged with an armed robbery, there was also an intentional homicide charge,” Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney said.

The state said they plan to file a motion to get this third charge reinstated.

The criminal complaint states that detectives found blood splatter on Freeman's jeans that had Rose's DNA.

The two parties also debated whether detectives should be able to testify about this blood spatter

The state argued that a detective on the case, who holds certifications in blood spatter investigation, should be able to testify about blood found on Freeman's jeans that matched Rose's DNA.

The defense argued that they did not have enough time to find an expert witness of their own to examine and testify about the blood spatter.

“For me to now have to try to cross-examine [the detective] about what his opinions are without any expert testimony to back me up is totally unfair, and so I object,” Jensen said.

The state believes the detective should still testify.

“The state certainly doesn't view it as a discovery violation that came up during the preparation for trial… it was provided as soon as the state had it,” Toney said.

The judge eventually ruled that a detective will be able to testify.

Opening arguments will begin Wednesday.