WEBSTER CITY – Both state and defense lawyers agreed on Thursday that the circumstances leading up to Andrea Sokolowski’s death involved a certain form of intimacy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Zackery Bassett loved Andrea Sokolowski to death” said Deputy Attorney General Keisha Cretsinger in her opening speech. “Those are his words and the evidence will show that. … He literally loved her to death. “
The third day of Bassett’s first degree murder trial on Thursday revealed some details of what both sides alleged in September 2018 when Sokolowski died at 639 1/2 Second St. in Webster City.
However, the defense claims showed a different kind of love.
“Andrea Sokolowski stopped breathing while they had hard, drunken sex.” said defense attorney Paul Rounds in his opening speech. “Hard, drunk sex was nothing new for Zack and Andrea. But telling complete strangers that it was new to Zack, he didn’t say that that night. “
But while the state highlighted the relationship as being plagued by domestic violence before the victim’s death, Rounds said Sokolowski was the one who manipulated the defendant.
“This was a relationship between a 50 year old woman and a 32 year old man” Laps said. “She wanted Zack as a meal card and she wanted Zack as a toy. The fact that he was so much younger made it so much easier to manipulate him. “
A no-contact arrangement between the couple when Sokolowski died also picked up different lights depending on who was speaking.
“There were times when complete strangers took steps to protect them from Mr. Bassett.” said Cretsinger ..
Bassett, 34, had previously been convicted of domestic violence against Sokolowski. In that incident, she was found with red marks on her arms, chest and back and blood on her right elbow after being cut.
“There was no order without contact” Laps said. “But it didn’t stop them from following him from town to town.”
Defense theory also alleges law enforcement errors, which Rounds said pursued a confirmatory bias that negatively impacted evidence collection.
The state’s first witness, the attending nurse at Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, who attempted to resuscitate Sokolowski on the night in question, described her airway as “The most swollen airway I’ve ever seen in person” and watched bruises on her stomach.
This witness, Jeremy Waldo, has approximately 20 years of medical experience and has intubated at least 100 patients.
The airways were so swollen, Waldo said, that they were physically unable to intubate them. By then, he estimated that no CPR had been performed on her body for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
The jury selected on Thursday afternoon, 12 women and six men, can expect the accused to have confessed in the face of opening statements and questions asked during the voir dire about whether innocent people can confess to crimes.
Rounds softened the jury when they overheard an interrogation with the law enforcement agencies he had called “An Interrogator’s Dream” Bassett agreed to this voluntarily after long exposure to drugs and alcohol.
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