Saario testifies on own behalf at murder trial

CRYSTAL FALLS — The prosecution rested its case Wednesday, leaving the defense to start calling witnesses on its behalf this morning as Alfred Saario’s murder trial entered day four.

Defense Attorney Henry McRoberts called several character witnesses to the stand this morning to vouch for his client, many of them describing Saario as a peaceful man. Witnesses also recalled times that painted the victim, Saario’s step-daughter Jamie Lee James, as an aggressor who was in and out of trouble with the law.

McRoberts also called on Saario himself to testify on his own behalf. Saario described the night of the murder and became emotional, saying he feared for his life after James made a threatening remark at him, which prompted him to pull the trigger.

“After you saw Ms. James fall, you took the gun on yourself,” asked McRoberts.

“Yes,” Saario replied.

“And I believe you said, and correct me if I’m wrong, but you felt bad because what you had done and how you were going to explain it to your wife?” McRoberts questioned.

“Yes,” answered Saario.

Throughout his testimony, Saario maintained he did not shoot to kill and it was not a premeditated action and since the room was poorly lit, he couldn’t be sure whether she had a weapon. Day five of Saario’s trial continues Friday in Iron County Trial Court.