Murder trial underway for Mapleton teen

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ONAWA, Iowa (KCAU) – Jury selection wrapped up Tuesday afternoon for the trial of a Mapleton teen charged with first-degree murder.

Jay Neubaum is accused of killing 16-year-old Joseph Hopkins in January of 2020.

The prosecution and defense gave their opening statements late Tuesday afternoon and the prosecution’s first witnesses will take the stand Wednesday morning in Monona County.

Tuesday, Neubaum’s attorney Laury Lau said that during the trial, they’ll prove that the shooting was a tragic accident rather than a murder.

“And what happened that night was a horrible, tragic accident. The state’s asking you to believe that jaylee became so enraged about an old shotgun that everyone has dry fired that he deliberately killed his friend. That’s not what happened folks,” said Lau.

On January 31, 2020, the Mapleton Police Department responded to a report of a shooting incident. Upon arrival, police found Hopkins deceased inside the detached garage of the residence. There were also three other juvenile males at the residence during the time of the incident.

The Iowa Office of State Medical Examiner has ruled Hopkins’ death as a homicide and the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.

Neubaum has also been charged with 10 counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

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