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Lake trial on attempted homicide charge gets underway in Helena

Posted at 10:36 AM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 12:36:50-04

(HELENA) The trial for a Helena man accused of attempted deliberate homicide got underway Tuesday in District Court.

Andrew Lake is accused of stabbing a victim several times last March following a dispute at Jester’s Bar.

During opening statements, Deputy County Attorney Melissa Broch told the jury about the events that led to a violent confrontation in the street in front of the bar.

Broch described Lake and his alleged victim as “regulars” at the bar. After exchanging angry words inside the bar with the victim, Lake left the bar early that morning.

Once outside, Broch said Lake attacked the victim, stabbing him seven times, in the neck, chest, and lower hip.

Lake was arrested a few hours later. Investigators found bloody clothing at Lake’s residence. Blood on the clothing matched the victim’s DNA. The knife allegedly used in the attack was never found.

Lake told investigators he didn’t remember what happened during the incident, he just remembered running away.

The cause of the dispute appears to be statements Lake allegedly made regarding sexual abuse of children. Broch told the jury Lake like to make such statements in order to shock people.

In this case, the victim, who has children, became concerned and warned other people with children about Lake’s statements.

Defense attorney Mariah Eastman said her case is all about intent. Did her client intent to kill the victim? She said her client was defending himself during the stabbing.

She described her client as an Army veteran, injured during his service and drawing 40-percent disability. Someone who had trouble socializing and was at ease expressing himself through art.

The defense attorney said Jesters’ was a social outlet for Lake, where he’d make drawings in order to speak to other people.

Eastman told the jury her client was defending himself that night, after being bullied, and shunned regarding the sexual abuse comments, including what he said was a nightmare he had about raping a 14-year old girl.

When he told others about the dream, he felt people began to shun and bully him.

Eastman said the victim in the case once threaten to cut Lake’s throat.

Eastman says her client felt he was in danger that night, stating the victim attacked Lake first, pulling a hooded sweat-shirt he was wearing over his head, impairing his vision.

The first witness in the case was Saint Peter’s Health E-R physician Dr. Adam Plate. He treated the victim that day.

Using photographs, a model skull and skeleton, Plate outlined the seven wounds for the jury, saying three of the wounds, including a stab wound to the victim’s skull, could have been potentially fatal. That wound was so severe (an artery was severed), the victim had to be transported to Great Falls for treatment.

Under cross examination, Eastman pointed out that the victim’s blood alcohol level that night was three-times the legal limit.

The defense attorney closely questioned Dr. Plate about the nature of the wounds, asking him if he could tell what type of thrust Lake was using during the stabbing. Plate said he could not.

Plate was also asked if any type of wound to the body could be “potentially” fatal, such as an infected toe.

Plate described the location of the three wounds in question, how each, if located just a few inches in any direction, would have either cut through more arteries or could have entered the victim’s heart, spleen or lung.

During the cross examination, Eastman stated if the intent of her client was to kill, the wounds would have been located differently.

“The wounds were not fatal,” she said. “He survived, yes?”

“Yes,” said Dr. Plate.

Under redirect, County Attorney Leo Gallagher asked, “The quickest way to kill is to the heart or the head, right?”

Dr. Plate agreed.

The trial is scheduled to continue through Thursday.

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