Arneson Trial Underway

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

Trial began on Tuesday for an Eau Claire man accused of killing a five-month-old baby earlier this year.

Jury selection was completed in the morning, with five women and seven men chosen in the trial of 24-year-old Eric Arneson. He's charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the suffocation death of Kaitlyn Rouse.

Arneson was watching the baby and her two-year-old brother on February 6, when prosecutors say Arneson wrapped Kaitlyn in a queen-size comforter.

"He's enraged, he's shaking, he's out of control, these are words he specifically used," says District Attorney Rich White in his opening argument. "That's when he goes into the other room, grabs that comforter and essentially entombs that poor baby."

The defense calls Kaitlyn's death a tragedy, but says Arneson didn't have the criminal intent in her death.

"Eric is charged with homicide by reckless conduct and as indicated, it requires you to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Eric's actions that morning constituted criminal recklessness," says Defense Attorney Richard Wachowski, to the jury.

If he is convicted, Arneson could face 60 years in prison.


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