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MURDER TRIAL: State Begins Case Against Huser

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Opening statements began in the re-trial of the man accused of hiring a hitman to kill his ex-wife’s lover in 2004.

In October of 2010 Vernon Huser was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.

But the Iowa Court of Appeals granted him a new trial saying some of the testimony was hearsay and shouldn't have been allowed.

Huser was back in the courtroom maintaining he was not involved in the death of Lance Morningstar, Friday.

"At the end of the day the evidence will be crystal clear that Vern Huser is an innocent man,” Huser’s defense attorney Alfredo Parrish claims.

But the state maintains Huser is responsible for hiring Louis Woolheater to kill Morningstar.

"’I’m going to kill that son of a bitch and no one is going to find the body,’ that was Vernon Huser’s intent, that was Vernon Huser’s plan,” Assistant Polk County Attorney Mike Salvner said.

The prosecution says Huser's wife started having an affair with Morningstar which upset him and led to the threats to kill him.

Eventually Huser met Woolheater, and soon Morningstar was missing.

The state's first witness found Morningstar’s body while hunting four months later.

"As I was looking through the brush I came across something yellowish white and it was a skull,” witness Jamie Caldwell told the jury. “A human skull attached to a body.”

Huser's defense paints a different picture saying Huser wasn't upset about his wife’s affair and after the couple's divorce had moved on.

The defense also says there is no physical evidence connecting Huser to the crime or to Woolheater who was convicted in the shooting.

"In nine years of investigating there is not one single word from a credible witness indicating that Vern Huser had anything what so ever to do with the death of Lance Morningstar," says Parrish.

The state called three witnesses to the stand before concluding on Friday evening.

The trial will continue Monday morning.

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