BOONE – “I shot my wife, then I tried to shoot myself and I missed everything” Justin Hurdel told Fort Dodge Police Department Detective Larry Hedlund in an interview less than 24 hours after Hurdel’s ex-wife Maggie Flint was killed on August 5, 2020.
A Boone County jury watched and listened to a video recording of much of Hedlund’s interview with Hurdel on Tuesday afternoon.
Hurdel, 34, is on trial for first degree murder, charged with shooting and killing Flint in a garage on the south side of Fort Dodge last summer. The trial was moved from Webster County to Boone County by court order in April to ensure a more impartial jury pool.
Hurdel was arrested after a 5-hour manhunt through town. Immediately after his arrest on the morning of August 6, 2020, he was transported to UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center for treatment of severe soft tissue damage in the nose area, following a suicide attempt the day before. .
Hedlund was the law enforcement officer who conducted Hurdel’s initial interview at the Webster County Law Enforcement Center after he was treated and released in hospital. He testified that the defendant appeared very upset and emotional, a sighting clearly visible in the videotape of the interview.
“She was the best thing that ever happened to me” Hurdel can be heard saying in the video.
Hedlund testified that he entered this interview believing that Hurdel had killed his wife, based on information he gathered while investigating the incident and observations he made at the scene at 526 S . 19th St.
âDuring your interview, did the accused ever tell you that what happened was an accident? “ Webster County First Deputy District Attorney Ryan Baldridge asked Hedlund.
Hurdel’s defense is that he was trying to kill himself in front of Flint when the gun accidentally discharged and hit her instead. In his interview with Hedlund he mentioned the gun “explode” when he tried to turn it on himself.
There was no mention that the shooting was an accident, Hedlund said. He said if Hurdel had claimed at that point that it was an accident he would have changed the direction of his questioning, but he would not have simply accepted the explanation and would have continued without further investigation. thorough.
“How long after you shot her did you realize you probably shouldn’t have done this?” “ Hedlund can be heard asking Hurdel in the video.
“At once,” Hurdel responded. “I knew I shouldn’t have done it when I did.”
During cross-examination, defense lawyer Katherine Flickinger interviewed Hedlund in an attempt to highlight the alleged suicidal state of mind Hurdel was in on the day of the shooting and when he interviewed Hedlund on next day. She said Hurdel was upset because of a recent “devastating” medical diagnosis of congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy, the loss of her job due to the diagnosis and her impending divorce from Flint.
During the reorientation, Baldridge asked about the ammunition Hurdel had brought with him to the garage at 526 S. 19th St.
“We had physical evidence at the scene of the shooting that he had brought four shotgun cartridges to the scene, which is important in this case because two people were shot and it did not amount to suicide alone. “, he added. Hedlund testified.
The jury also heard from Iowa State Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Michelle Catellier about the injuries she found on Flint’s body during an autopsy and the cause of death.
The jury saw photographs taken by Catellier during the autopsy, showing a gunshot wound near Flint’s rear left shoulder. The wound was about 2.5 inches in diameter, she said.
Catellier also testified that she found dots or bullet residue around the wound. There were also marks made next to the wound caused by the padding of the shotgun cartridge.
Catellier testified that the shotgun cartridge penetrated the upper left portion of Flint’s back and arms and that the shot passed through his body, going from the left side to the right side and at a downward and forward angle. There was no exit wound.
“The blow broke apart and hit several parts of (Flint’s) chest,” said Catellier.
The shotgun pellets hit Flint’s heart, lungs, esophagus and aorta, the medical examiner said.
Catellier ruled that the death was homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the arm / chest.
Earlier today, the jury heard from Iowa Criminal Investigations Division criminal lawyer Michael Tate, a gun expert. Tate testified that nothing in his examination of the firearm, which was a modified Remington Model 31, indicated that there was any kind of “explosion” which occurred during the last shot, which the defense argued occurred when the accused attempted to shoot the shotgun on August 5, 2020.
Baldridge showed Tate the shirt Flint was wearing when she was killed, and Tate testified that the hole in the back of the left shoulder matches the test firing patterns at a shooting range of six feet .
Tate noted in his testimony that when he received the shotgun found at the scene of the shooting, he took note that it had been modified, that the barrel was shorter than its original manufacture and that the butt was missing. He testified that the legal length of a shotgun barrel is 18 inches and that the barrel of that shotgun was just over 14 inches.
Tate testified that during his examination of the firearm he successfully fired several times, but described it as being in “Poor physical condition”.
âAnytime I see a gun that’s missing a butt, the barrel has been cut, I usually call it poor right off the bat. “ he said. “If it had been fair that the finish was in the shape it is in, I probably would have called it just fit, assuming we had a stock and a full barrel.”
Tate also testified that the pistol fires as the manufacturer intended when the proper caliber of shotgun shells are used. The length of the shell also matters, he said.
The Remington Model 31 is designed to fire a 2.5 inch shell, Tate said. He said it is possible to load a 3 inch shell in this model and fire it, but it would be “heavy,” although it is not very difficult to remove the worn case as opposed to the worn case which just pops out when the user goes to recharge.
2 inch and 3 inch shotgun ammunition was found during a search of the accused’s home after the shooting.
In cross-examining Catellier and Tate, Flickinger and defense lawyer Shannon Leighty focused on the idea of ââconfirmation bias, or the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of existing beliefs or theories. , perhaps laying the groundwork for claiming that these experts went into their forensic exams with a theory already in mind.
The state should conclude its case and hand over the reins to defense to begin pleading its case today. Follow @KelbyWingert on Twitter for live updates throughout the day.