Attempted murder trial begins for Branden Lyon in Bismarck

BISMARCK, N.D. - An attempted murder trial began Tuesday in Bismarck.

Branden Lyon also faces two counts of terrorizing and possessing firearms while on probation.

During opening statements, the prosecution said Lyon obtained three guns from LeeAnn Neva’s home inside her gun case on Oct. 2015.

The prosecution said Lyon pointed the gun at Neva’s neighbor, Tom Disslehorst’s, head and threatened her two sons on the evening of Oct. 12.

Tuesday afternoon Neva testified in front the 12 person jury.

“He said I could leave the house but Tom could not leave and then he said something like I’ll take him out,” said Neva.

Disslehorst and Neva have been neighbors for over 25 years. He said he had been spending a lot of time at Neva’s home starting on July of 2015 because they had a lot of things in common including that they were both widowers.

He claims to have met Lyon at Neva’s home that summer. Disslehorst said before the incident, Lyon was talking about taking Neva’s five dogs and a few guns to hunt at his land in Standing Rock.

“He showed me how he could get into that gun case without breaking the glass that was on,” said Disslehorst. “He showed me how he could get into that without showing any damage to the lock at all.”

After the gun was allegedly pointed at Disslehorst’s head that evening, him and Neva left to his home two doors down.

“We made a run for it,” said Disslehorst.

When they got to his house they said they heard knocking at the front door. They didn’t answer because they thought it was Lyon. That’s when Disslehorst called 911.

The prosecution said the West Dakota SWAT team was deployed to the scene.

The negotiator, Rebecca Kopp said she called Lyon more than seven times around 2 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2015.

“First call without answer was at 2:19 and the last contact we made was at 3:45,” said Kopp.

The SWAT team shift manager at the time of the incident said the negotiation didn’t work so they decided to launch bean bag rounds to break the windows to get the CS gas, also known as tear gas, inside the home.

The SWAT team said Lyon took three shots a bit after the gas was launched.

"The officer on the roof calls out and says there was an explosion that occurred right by him what it turned out to be was debris from the shotgun glass that came from the house in his direction," said State’s Attorney, Julie Lawyer.

The SWAT team said they launched “27 rounds of gas” that night.

Lyon was taken into custody at 12:06 on Oct. 13, after being barricaded in Neva’s home for more than 12 hours.

Eight witnesses took the stand Tuesday at Burleigh County Courthouse and the trial is expected to run until the end of the week.