The Lee Christensen trial began today.  After each attorney read their opening statements, the first witness was called to testify.

Brittany Bortvit, sister of the victim Thomas Bortvit, was the first witness called to testify.  The state attorney questioned her on her brother’s demeanor, as well as their relationship.  When Mr. Coleman McCallister, state attorney, asked Ms. Bortvit to describe her brother, she looked at the defendant while delivering her answer.

“He was the most hardworking, most innocent, kind person and he would have done anything for anybody, no matter the circumstance”, said Bortvit.

The state attorney then asked her to recount the events of the day of the murder, June 6, 2015.

Ms. Bortvit recounted her contact with her brother on the day of June 6, saying she had texted him earlier to say she was coming home from Sioux City, where she lived at the time. She then described text messages from him later on in the day which she viewed as odd, saying the contents of the message were very unlike her brother.

She then recounted her and her family’s search for Thomas on the evening of June 6 to the early morning of June 7.  She told about the discovery of Thomas’s car on June 7 and what she saw at the scene, as well as the realization later that day that her brother was gone. 

The defense attorney Mr. Leon Spies cross-examined the witness with similar questions.  

She was then dismissed from the witness stand.

44 more witnesses will testify over the course of the trial. 

Be sure to check back at and tune in to ABC9 news as we will have more updates over the course of the trial.