Ryan Stensaker Trial: Day Three

MINOT (KMOT-TV) Monday was day three of testimony in the trial of Ryan Stensaker, who faces murder charges in the death of Jack Sjol.

Eight people took the stand Monday.

Family and friends of Jack Sjol's looked on as investigators, law enforcement officials, and a medical examiner testified to the discovery, exhuming and autopsy of Sjol's body.

Most of the day's testimony centered on the events of May 14, 2013, the day investigators found Jack Sjol's body in a landfill in Williams County--testimonies that left Sjol's family, friends, and loved ones in attendance fighting back tears.

Prosecution: "What did you see when you first got to that portion of the garbage dump?"

Dale Maixner, Special Agent for the ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation: "I observed a blue, blue cloth and it appeared to be a blue happy cloth jacket, and I could also observe that there was what appeared to be a body contained in that jacket."

The prosecution also questioned investigators on tire tracks found at the dump site, as well as several pieces of mail buried near the body.

Steve Gutknecht, Supervisory Special Agent for the ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation: "The tire track was found that led up to near where Jack Sjol's body was ultimately found."

Also during questioning...

Prosecution: "Could you describe how they were similar?

Sgt. Det. Amanda McNamee, Williams County Sheriff’s Department: "They have the same pattern. The tire tracks at Mr. Sjol's residence had the same pattern as the tire tracks that we see here at the dump site."

Also during questioning...

Prosecution: "The correspondence that was found, do you recall who's name was on it?"

Maixner: "Ryan Stensaker."

During cross-examination, the defense challenged witnesses on how the tire tracks came about, and how the mail got into the garbage pit.

Steven Mottinger, Attorney for Ryan Stensaker: "There are no physical evidence that would help the jury in determining who may have driven the Escalade to the pit, is there?"

Maixner: "No."

Mottinger: "And it certainly could have been somebody other than Ryan Stensaker, correct?"

Maixner: "I would agree with that."

Also during cross-examinations...

Mottinger: "There's no way you can tell based on the tire track whether or not that tire track has anything to do with Jack Sjol being in that dump, can you?"

Gutknecht: "No."

Also during cross-examinations...

Mottinger: "And you have no personal knowledge as to how the mail got into the pit?"

Maixner: "No."

The proceedings ended for the day with a lengthy testimony from Dr. William Massello, who performed the autopsy on Sjol's body, a testimony filled with graphic images. One of Sjol's loved ones had to leave the courtroom.

Testimonies continues Tuesday morning. The prosecution says they'll have their questioning wrapped up either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.