Judge allows statement from victim in fatal CP stabbing
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent August 24, 2012 7:40PM
Updated: September 26, 2012 6:07AM
Lake Superior Court jurors heard through a police detective how the victim in a Thanksgiving stabbing on the courthouse square in downtown Crown Point recalled the events that led to his fatal wound.
The move by defense attorney Kevin Milner to admit Brandon Huseman’s version of the events in the murder trial of Jeffrey Matthew Nemcek came after a hearing outside the jury’s presence in which Huseman’s widow, Kristin, was called a second time to the witness stand to testify whether her husband thought he was facing imminent death.
Kristin Huseman, 26, said after her husband had been stabbed at about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 24 in the 100 block of South Court Street, he said he thought he was dying. She recalled a doctor telling Brandon about 2 a.m. that it appeared he had a lacerated liver and most likely would recover. While he was in the emergency room, Kristin Huseman said her husband was talking about taking advantage of a “black Friday” discount for a gym membership.
Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. acknowledged that he had previously ruled that Brandon Huseman’s words could not be admitted as a “dying declaration” allowed under an exception to the hearsay rule, but he changed his ruling after the hearing.
Crown Point police Detective Robert Franko said Huseman told him a group of family and friends had left the Bar Association bar when a man later identified as Nemcek made a remark about the group needing a designated driver. Someone in the group responded, and Huseman said he noticed an altercation behind him. He saw one of the women in the group fall. Nemcek also fell and his gym shoe came off. Nemcek got up off the ground and lunged at Huseman, who told Franko he realized he was stabbed when he saw blood on his abdomen.
Ultimately, surgeons were unable to repair severe damage to major blood vessels and Huseman died at about 8 a.m.
Responding to questions from deputy prosecutor Monica Rogina, Franko said Brandon Huseman never said he saw someone in his group strike Nemcek before Huseman was stabbed or explained how Nemcek’s shoe came off.
None of the prosecution witnesses who were with the Husemans at the time have testified that they saw anyone make physical contact with Nemcek until after Nemcek stabbed Brandon Huseman.
Anthony Kuhns, 26, who is dating Kristin Huseman’s sister, Alexis James, testified Friday that he punched Nemcek once. The punch came after Kristin Huseman’s cousin, Stephen Egan, pushed Nemcek to the ground and Nemcek got up. Egan testified he did not recall pushing Nemcek.
Other evidence before the jury included the switchblade knife police recovered at the site where the new Crown Point Public Library was under construction. DNA analysis from the Indiana State Police lab in Lowell showed that the knife blade contained a mixture of DNA from which Huseman and Nemcek could not be excluded as contributors.
Police said Nemcek had a cut on his right thumb when he was apprehended on Summit Street between Main Street and Merrillville Road, roughly 1½ miles from his home.
Testimony is expected to resume Monday