WOODSTOCK – A Wonder Lake man's trial began today with testimony from his one-time roommate, and girlfriend of the man he is accused of murdering.
Richard G. Nielsen is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of 34-year-old Jeremy Lechner.
Lechner's girlfriend, Becky Meyers, was living with her brother, Tim Meyers at 7607 Orchard Road in Wonder Lake, the scene of the alleged crime. Nielsen rented a room from Becky Meyers for $50 a week.
In her opening statements, McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said that on Feb. 6, 2012 Nielsen returned drunk to Meyers' house after being told he no longer was welcome there.
Becky Meyers testified that a verbal fight ensued between Lechner and Nielsen after Nielsen pulled a knife. Lechner threw a single punch that landed on Nielsen's face, she said.
"[Nielsen] made bad choices that night that resulted in the death of an unarmed person," Eisenstein said.
Defense attorney, Special Public Defender Bill Bligh, meanwhile painted a picture of a man bewildered by what Bligh called "miscommunication," and was intimidated by a man 20 years his junior.
"When you apply the law, you will see the events of Feb. 6, 2012 – while tragic – were not first-degree murder," Bligh said.
The trial will resume at 1:30 p.m.