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Taped interview in Duluth murder trial: 'I slashed at his throat'

Jurors in Joshua Lee Littlewolf's second-degree murder trial heard a taped interview with Duluth police investigators Monday in which the defendant said he grabbed a knife and "I slashed at his throat."...

Joshua Lee Littlewolf
Joshua Lee Littlewolf, 43, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, for the 2012 murder of Joshua Olson.

Jurors in Joshua Lee Littlewolf's second-degree murder trial heard a taped interview with Duluth police investigators Monday in which the defendant said he grabbed a knife and "I slashed at his throat."

Joshua Olson, 28, died of a massive neck wound on April 27, 2012, at the Frances Skinner Apartments in downtown Duluth on April 27, 2012.

Under cross examination by Littlewolf, who is representing himself, Duluth police investigator David Decker responded to a question by saying, "You told us you had been in a fight with Mr. Olson, lodged a knife in his throat, pushed him up against a wall and left."

Littlewolf had attempted to block the tapes from being played in the trial. He said he was highly intoxicated at the time and was not aware that he was being questioned in a murder investigation.

The multi-hour interview began approximately 12 hours after Littlewolf was arrested in St. Cloud, six days after Olson's death. During the interview Littlewolf sounded coherent, not slurring his words.

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His version of events did change during the interview. After denying for approximately two hours that anything had happened between him and Olson, Littlewolf said the two got into a tussle and threw some punches after Olson stepped on his ankle while he was sleeping on the floor.

More than an hour later in the interview, Littlewolf's story changed to where both men had knives. When Olson approached, Littlewolf grabbed the bread knife Olson had and slashed him across the throat.

"It (the knife) was still in his neck, that's when I got scared" and left, Littlewolf told investigators.

In response to questions from the investigators, Littlewolf said he didn't slash Olson more than once deliberately, although he could have done so accidently.

Monday's testimony began with Dr. Mary Ann Sens, chair of the Department of Pathology,

School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks. Due to a scheduling conflict, prosecutor Nate Stumme agreed to allow Littlewolf to call Sens -- a defense witness -- while the state is still making its case.

Sens testified that Olson suffered a stab wound to the throat that severed his windpipe, arteries, vessels and veins. He "would have bled to death very quickly," Sens testified.

When asked by Littlewolf if there was more than one wound, Sens said there were several, likely between seven and nine, although it could have been more or fewer.

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Littlewolf has said he left the apartment before Olson was killed and believes that someone else -- possibly Nakota Benjamin, who rents the apartment -- was the real perpetrator. Monday he showed pictures of Benjamin that show wounds he could have suffered in a fight. But Sens testified she could not say what caused the wounds.

Under questioning by Littlewolf, who maintains he was drunk when interviewed by officers, Sens said alcohol affects different people differently, and that many people become more talkative as they become intoxicated.

Littlewolf also raised the issue of intoxication with Decker, asking if it was possible for a person with a high tolerance to alcohol to carry on a conversation. Decker replied it could be.

During his redirect questioning of Decker, Stumme asked if signs of intoxication can be visible even in people with a tolerance to alcohol. Decker replied yes.

Related Topics: CRIME
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