Opening statements in McCandless trial

Published: Oct. 15, 2019 at 5:42 PM CDT
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Ezra McCandless was back in a Dunn County courtroom Tuesday as the state and her defense team gave opening statements in her murder trial.

McCandless is charged with first degree intentional homicide in the death of 24-year-old Alexander Woodworth last March.

She was silent as both sides tried to describe what happened on March 22nd, 2018.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this was not a knife right like the defendant would like you to believe," Dunn County District Attorney, Andrea Nodolf said.

"She tells him, ‘I was attacked,’" said McCandless’s Defense Attorney, Aaron Nelson.

McCandless faces one charge of first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Alex Woodworth. The prosecution described Woodworth as a man with dreams of becoming a philosophy professor.

"If you read the whole journals, you'll realize these are philosophical musings of a young man who wanted to be a philosophy professor,” Nodolf said.

McCandless’s defense team described him as a disturbed.

"He tells her right away about his journals, his fascination with violence, his captivation with cannibalism," Nelson said.

The case centers on, in part, what happened in the back seat of a car on that March day. McCandless and Woodworth were there.

The defense claims Woodworth attacked McCandless, while voicing his desire to keep their relationship going. Nelson said Woodworth told McCandless, "I want one last time. I deserve one last time."

But the State claims McCandless attacked Woodworth, stabbing him 16 times.

“She took this knife and brutally and forcefully used the knife to stab Alex in the back of the head: through the scalp, through the right temporal bone, into the brain, piercing the brain. She used this knife to slit him across the throat three times on the right side,” Nodolf said.

The defense said McCandless was attacked by Woodworth and acted in self-defense.

"Her obsessive boyfriend attacked her, cut her, strangled her. She wanted to live and she fought to survive,” Nelson said.

According to the defense, McCandless was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with aspects derealization and depersonalization.

Nelson ended his opening statement by saying the prosecution does not have any other evidence as to what happened.

"They will not bring you any other evidence because it does not exist,” he said.