Prosecuters prepare for homicide trial

Published 6:26 am Monday, March 29, 2010

Minnesota and Freeborn County prosecutors, along with defense council for Chad Jamie Gulbertson, are expected to appear in Freeborn County District Court on Monday to work out some last-minute logistics about Gulbertson’s upcoming homicide trial.

Gulbertson, 38, is accused of murdering his estranged girlfriend Jody Lee Morrow last June. He faces five counts of murder, including three first-degree murder charges and two second-degree murder charges, after a grand jury indictment in October.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the case on April 12 in Rice County.

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Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson, who is working with Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Bill Klumpp on the prosecution of the case, said issues that will be discussed at the Monday hearing include topics such as conduct during the trial, witness issues and other concerns about selecting jurors.

Nelson said he and Klumpp also have a proposed jury questionnaire that will be discussed, along with the issue of how to transport Gulbertson during the trial.

Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman, along with the prosecutors and Gulbertson’s lawyers, plan to meet at the Rice County Courthouse on Tuesday to familiarize themselves with the courtroom.

Gulbertson was arrested June 21, 2009, after authorities found Morrow, 38, dead inside her trailer at 730 Larimore Circle in Albert Lea.

Before officers found Morrow, Gulbertson reportedly came into the Law Enforcement Center in the Freeborn County Government Center with a family member and told an officer he thought he killed his former girlfriend, according to police reports.

Reports from the Freeborn County medical examiner determined that Morrow’s death was caused by multiple blunt-force injuries to her head with a hammer, according to court documents.

Morrow had applied for an emergency order for protection against Gulbertson in both September of 2008 and in May of 2009. She was granted an official order for protection June 1, 2009, according to court records.