MARQUETTE — After spending Monday selecting a jury, the trial of Steven Devalle began Tuesday with opening statements.
Devalle has five charges against him for an incident that allegedly occurred in the early morning hours of July 6th, 2016, at a residence on Stratofort Street in Forsyth Township. Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese talked about what he expects the victim to say when she takes the stand to tell her side of the story.
“He dragged her, knocked her, took her to the floor; and as he was doing that, there was a struggle. She had a top shirt, a t-shirt and a bra was all flipped off of her in the course of this struggle,” said Wiese.
Devalle is accused of strangling the victim to the point where she thought she was going to die. Wiese stressed that point to the jury during his opening statement.
“Just go to sleep, just go to sleep. I believe (the victim) will testify that when the defendant said these comments to her, she thought, ‘This is game over. I’m going to die here. He’s going to kill me,’ said Wiese.
After the alleged assault took place, the victim reached out to Officer Justin Wonch of the Forsyth Township Police Department on Facebook messenger. Police arrived on scene an hour later and documented what Wiese called bruises and red marks on the victim’s neck and throat.
Devalle was arrested the next day at OSF St. Francis after crashing his car on US-41. Devalle’s defense attorney, Theodore Fulsher, painted a different picture of what happened the night in question: A neighbor reportedly heard commotion at the residence, where Devalle was the one yelling.
“She heard Mr. Devalle shouting, ‘Get your hands off me! Get your hands off me! Get your hands off me!” said Fulsher.
According to Fulsher, Devalle has no prior history of violence or domestic assault. There’s no word yet if Devalle will take the stand during the trial.
The prosecution is expected to call several witnesses, including the victim, to make their case. The trial is scheduled to last five-days in front of Judge Karl Weber.