District Court: Jury seated in murder trial

WINNEMUCCA — The trial for a man accused of shooting and killing his daughter last June is underway in the 6th Judicial District Court.

Leo Hunter, 54, (shown right) pleaded not guilty to open murder in November 2010.  He is represented by Public Defender Matt Stermitz.

Chief Deputy DA Kevin Pasquale represents the state; the case is being presided over by Judge Michael Montero.

The defense stipulated to the fact Hunter shot his daughter, Lenora Warren, who was 29-years-old at the time of her death.  She died several hours after the shooting while en route to Reno where she was being transferred for medical care.

The defendant is charged with open murder, which allows the jury to hear all the evidence then decide if the crime represents first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter.

The defense is expected to argue the facts of the case do not represent first-degree murder.

During opening statements Stermitz told the jury Hunter intended to scare his daughter, not shoot her, when he went for the gun.

Warren was preparing to leave her parents’ house, along with her two young daughters, following a dispute over spilled soda.  During the dispute her father called her stupid in front of her daughters.  She told her mother she couldn’t take the verbal abuse anymore.

Hunter was apparently concerned about the safety of his granddaughters because he and his wife had come to believe Lenora Hunter was using drugs.

Pasquale will be seeking a first-degree murder conviction.

As he noted in his opening statements, Hunter did not act like a man who had just unintentionally shot his daughter.

He noted after the shooting Hunter did not call 911 or help his dying daughter.  He just watched as his wife, a nurse, attempted to give first aid.

The state’s primary witness is Stella Hunter, the victim’s mother and the defendant’s wife.

She has previously testified that Hunter hated his daughter and when he went for the gun he said, “I’ll do the time.”

Stella Hunter began her testimony on Monday (April 11).

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