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Neilson trial will begin today

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa -- After more than a year, long hours of investigation and numerous delays, the trial of Kenneth George Neilson, accused of felony-level manslaughter, is scheduled to get under way today with jury selection followed by the start of opposing arguments.

Neilson, 56, formerly of Spirit Lake, faces two charges of involuntary manslaughter and one of reckless use of a firearm, all stemming from the death of Worthington man Marlan Lutterman.

According to authorities, Neilson was booked into the Dickinson County Jail July 29, 2007, after he called 911 to report his .357 Magnum Colt Python had accidentally fired while he was cleaning it in his second-story apartment. Neilson was one of several people that called 911 after the shot went off.

Witnesses who were with Lutterman said he and two others had been on a motorcycle ride when they stopped at a pub in Spirit Lake. Shortly after getting off their bikes, they heard a gunshot. Lutterman told his friends he thought he had been shot, and fell to the ground. He was transported to Lakes Regional Healthcare Center by ambulance, where he later died.

Neilson's apartment is located approximately 200 feet from where Lutterman was shot. While searching the residence, authorities located a multitude of firearms.

Neilson's trial has been delayed several times for a variety of reasons. Once testimony begins, the trial is expected to take slightly more than a week.

Lutterman's wife and daughter said they feel the wait for the trial has been more than long enough, and they are ready to experience justice and closure in the death of their husband and father.