WORTHINGTON — Continuing testimony in the murder trial of Christopher Kruse came Friday from two law enforcement investigators who perused the scene of the crime and interviewed Kruse in the days following Janette Pigman-Kruse's murder.
Nobles County Sheriff's Office Detective Sgt. Lonnie Roloff told the jury at the end of the day Thursday that he was dispatched to the crime scene around 3 a.m. Aug. 19, 2015, less than half an hour after Kruse's 911 call. He decided the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension needed to help investigate the crime, and participated in Kruse's initial interview.
Roloff noted that although Kruse told law enforcement that he had lain Pigman-Kruse down on the bed after she was shot, he only had a couple of areas of light blood staining on his arms and shirt.
On Friday, Roloff clarified that since Kruse had reported Pigman-Kruse was "full of blood," the fact that he didn't have much blood on his person was cause for concern, prompting law enforcement to confiscate his clothes as evidence.
Defense cross-examination revealed that it's standard practice to "secure the scene" in a criminal investigation so that nobody can tamper with evidence or otherwise alter the crime scene. Roloff admitted that although Kruse told the BCA investigator in the first interview — about three hours after Pigman-Kruse was murdered — that he owned a shop and kept some guns there, officers didn't visit the shop at that time or ever "secure the scene" at the shop.
Roloff also acknowledged that during that same initial interview, Kruse was wearing a jacket. He told the interviewers that some blood on his arm had rubbed off inside the jacket, but law enforcement didn't collect his jacket as evidence.
Both sides of the case also reviewed phone records and Spider Lake Resort financial documents with Roloff.
BCA Senior Special Agent Derek Woodford, who conducted a series of interviews with Kruse, also answered questions from attorneys, in between reviewing video footage of the first two interviews with Kruse.
Kruse himself had a difficult time watching the recordings. Watching himself on tape shortly after his wife's death, the defendant was emotional and shaking in his seat.
The first interview took place at around 5:40 a.m. Aug. 19, 2015. In the footage, Kruse is visibly upset. He recounts the shooting, saying that he and his wife were snuggled asleep when he heard a bang, got out of bed to turn on the light and saw Pigman-Kruse sit up in bed and say, "Oh my God."
He tells Woodford and Roloff that his wife's "whole chest was full of blood" and that she was "gurgling." He continued to repeat the story until law enforcement had a clear timeline.
Following review of the video, prosecutors asked Woodford to explain what he noted during the interview.
"At this point, I'm looking for blood on Chris because of their position in bed when the shot was fired," Woodford said. "I thought there would be more blood on him."
Woodford had another concern as well.
"After that injury, for her to sit up and say 'Oh my God,' I have some concerns with that," Woodford added.
He pointed out that although Kruse says in the interview that he asked for an ambulance when he called 911, a recording of the actual 911 call reveals that he did not actually ask for an ambulance. Kruse also repeatedly says he saw a single shotgun shell at the scene, but there were two, and they were right next to each other.
The following day, Woodford received a report from the medical examiner, Dr. Michael McGee, which said that due to the characteristics of the wound, Pigman-Kruse had to have been sitting up when she was shot. This information raised further questions about the positioning in bed of Kruse and Pigman-Kruse, so Woodford asked Kruse to come in for a second interview.
The second interview occurred around 1:20 p.m. Aug. 20, 2015. This time, Kruse told the story slightly differently. The order of events changes a little, and he isn't sure this time if there was one shot or two.
"Anytime I interview somebody and things change, that's cause for concern," Woodford told the jury after viewing the interview recording.
Woodford reported that after that interview, he and BCA agent Dave Shaffer went with Kruse to look around his shop, where they found two more .12-gauge shotguns and a box of Winchester Super X .12-gauge slugs.
Prosecutors will continue to view interview footage with Woodford Monday morning.