Motions in murder trial
A jury trial is set to begin Tuesday, Aug. 6 for the Detroit Lakes man accused of murder and attempted murder in connection with a Jan. 25 shooting at the Kountry Manor Trailer Park north of Detroit Lakes.
A pre-trial hearing was held Thursday to discuss nearly two dozen motions pertaining to the trial of Ronald Matthew Quiceno.
Quiceno, 38, has been charged in Becker County District Court with two counts of second degree murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of second degree assault, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Quiceno entered a home at the trailer court early that morning, where he allegedly shot Travis Buckanaga five times and Burris Guy once, following an argument that occurred during a get-together at the residence.
Buckanaga died a short time later at the Detroit Lakes hospital, while Guy was wounded in the lower neck and received treatment at a Perham hospital before being released.
Judge Lisa Borgen has requested 55 jurors to be questioned, with jury selection slated to begin Aug. 6.
Opening statements will be heard the day after jury selection is completed, which could take two or three days. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
At the hearing, Borgen questioned witness Bradley Bloom in chambers over his stated intention to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying. The amendment gives people the right not to testify if doing so might incriminate themselves.
The judge said that she determined through questioning Bloom that “he does not have a valid reason for not testifying,” and she explained the potential court-imposed penalties he might face if he refused to testify when called.
“The court is satisfied he will be prepared to testify,” she said.
Bloom is due to be transferred from the Becker County Jail to state prison in St. Cloud to serve a sentence on an unrelated matter.
Becker County Attorney Mike Fritz concurred with a court order to keep Bloom in jail and easily accessible for the duration of the Quiceno trial.
“He can always be moved to a different facility in Minnesota if it becomes necessary,” Borgen said.
Fritz asked that the judge impose a gag order on Quiceno to prevent him from talking to the media. The action is necessary to avoid influencing the jury pool, he said.
A Detroit Lakes Newspaper reporter earlier conducted several telephone interviews with Quiceno from the Becker County Jail. Only a small portion of those interviews have been published.
Borgen said the court routinely issues gag orders on attorneys in a case, but a “defendant is another matter,” she said. She declined to issue the order, but cautioned Quiceno that “loose lips sink ships,” and to listen to his attorney and avoid talking to the media because anything he says can be used against him in court.
“I can’t imagine a worse nightmare for a defense attorney than a client talking to the media,” she said.