Jury trial continues for Eric Reinbold, charged with murdering his wife
Notable witnesses for day three of the trial include children of the victim, parents of the defendant, and numerous DNA analysts.
THIEF RIVER FALLS – The trial for an Oklee, Minnesota, man accused of murdering his wife last year continues.
Eric Reinbold, 46, allegedly killed his wife, Lissette Reinbold, 34, on July 9, 2021. Reinbold evaded arrest until he was located by authorities on Aug. 4, 2021. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent and second-degree murder while committing assault.
On the third day of trial, Wednesday, Sept. 28, the jury heard from 12 witnesses, including some with varying degrees of involvement in Reinbold's life, the chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy, three of the victim’s children, Reinbold’s parents and analysts from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
Scott McDonald told the jury about Reinbold’s attitude when they lived together. According to McDonald, after one phone call Reinbold had with Lissette, he told McDonald, “I just don’t understand. I feed it and I treat it like a human.” McDonald also testified that Reinbold said he would kill Lissette if he ever found out she was unfaithful, as mentioned in the state’s opening statement.
Dr. Michael McGee testified that he conducted Lissette Reinbold's autopsy on July 10, 2021. Through the autopsy, he determined the cause of death to be exsanguination from internal and external hemorrhages. McGee determined the manner of death to be homicide.
The first child noticed his mother’s car in the driveway when he woke up the morning of July 9, 2021. He said he called for her and checked her room, but she was not there. He went outside because he had “noticed something outside by the car,” and told the jury, “I found my mother laying on the ground.”
The first child testified he told his brother to go get Reinbold.
“I told him what I believed had happened, and told him to avoid looking at that area,” he told the jury.
A second child was interviewed next, and there were some inconsistencies between his testimony and the first child’s, including whether he was awake when his brother found their mother.
The daughter told the jury she and her mother were “really close” and talked about “anything.” She said that on July 8, 2021, she found her mother crying in the car after work while looking at her cell phone. Lissette told her daughter not to worry about it, and when the girl brought it up with her father, he said, “she’s probably crying about something stupid.”
She told the jury her father complained about her mother “most of the time,” and she got emotional while saying so. According to the child, Reinbold would refer to Lissette as “stupid” and say “she wasn’t doing her job of taking care of us.”
According to the daughter’s testimony, the two children did not plan to spend the night in the camper with their father until she had come home upset that day. The morning of July 9, 2021, the girl’s brother, the only child of Lissette’s who did not testify, woke her up.
“He was shaking me, telling me to wake up because my dad was gone,” said the girl.
She told the jury that, though her father did leave the two children alone at the camper at times, he always told them where he was going, and they could reach him by cell phone. However, on July 9, 2021, he made no mention of leaving early that morning, and left his cell phone inside the camper.
The girl confirmed that she sent her mother a text message after being interviewed by the police.
“And was that saying goodbye to her?” asked Assistant Minnesota Attorney John Gross.
“Yes,” she said.
Multiple members of the BCA testified in regard to a man’s hair obtained from the scene that did not belong to anyone who had DNA collected in the case. It was stated multiple times that hair can be transferred in numerous ways, and there is no way to identify when hair – or any other DNA – comes in contact with an item. The hair did not match any DNA in Codus, a database of DNA collected from crime scenes, convicts and arrestees. Lissette’s blood was identified on a key fob in the case, and Reinbold’s was identified on his shorts.
There were more than 13 hairs collected from Lissette’s body, items belonging to Reinbold, and other items related to the case. Joshua Mertens, of the Minnesota BCA, testified he could not make a statement as to whether any hairs became attached to items in the case after Lissette’s death.
Glenn Vettleson testified in relation to an incident that occurred June 11, 2015 in which he was delivering mail to the Reinbold residence and witnessed Reinbold ramming his vehicle into Lissette’s multiple times, once even causing her vehicle to move “a car or two’s length.” He also testified he believed there were children in the backseat, and he heard a gunshot before arriving at the residence.
Both of Reinbold’s parents testified they believed their son loved Lissette and their relationship did not raise any concerns. However, they acknowledged having no knowledge as to the texts between Reinbold and Lissette, which were presented to the jury on Tuesday, Sept. 27.