NELIGH, Neb. — Matthew Hinrichsen decided if he couldn't have 25-year-old Victoria Lee, nobody could, including her husband, Alex Vargas.
Prosecutors opened a double-murder trial Monday by laying out the jealous brooding of a man accused of gunning down newlyweds in their trailer last December.
The defense promised the jury of five women and seven men a "bit of an unusual trial."
Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Public Advocacy Commission said he would not dispute that Hinrichsen caused the deaths nor would he and fellow attorney Pat Carney of Norfolk dispute much of the DNA or ballistics evidence.
But Lancaster said he wants the jury to get all the facts and evidence and consider it with an open mind on whether this truly was a “cold-blooded premeditated murder.”
Lancaster said something happened that night, possibly something in the heat of passion, that caused Hinrichsen not to be able to reason — to lose control.
In the hours leading up to the slayings, Hinrichsen was seen at two bars in the area. At one, Kim Funk served Hinrichsen a drink and he responded by giving her $100.
“Bad night?” Funk asked Hinrichsen. “Try bad life,” Hinrichsen responded, according to Funk.
Allen said shortly after midnight Dec. 8, Hinrichsen showed up at the rural Antelope County trailer where Lee and Vargas lived. Lee called a 911 operator to report an armed man inside her home.
Vargas was shot three times, Allen said. Lee died of blunt force trauma to the head.
The couple's trailer was then set on fire in an attempt to conceal the crime.
Allen said over the next several days, jurors would hear evidence of Hinrichsen's guilt, including a 911 call, a police booking video, a recording of the defendant's statements and a recording of Hinrichsen talking to Lee, including how he felt after she married Vargas.